Nurses aren’t quitters by nature. But lately, after three years of a grueling pandemic, they have been leaving the workforce in droves.
ConnectRN, a platform that connects nurses with job opportunities, released a campaign last week highlighting the need for urgent action to keep nurses in the workforce.
The UnResignation Letter, launched January 8 and created by Mischief @ No Fixed Address, calls on nurses who may be feeling burned out to recommit to the profession while continuing to apply pressure on employers to create tangible change to working conditions.
The campaign rolled out just as thousands of New York City nurses went on strike last week, after their union contract expired at the end of the last year before reaching a permanent agreement.
However, it was divine timing vs. a strategic play that aligned the ConnectRN campaign with a nursing strike, said chief marketing officer Jen Reddy.
The team actually began working on the brief back in October, but took its time tweaking the campaign before deciding to run. It was a golden opportunity that the final date was decided as NYC nurses took to the streets.
“We were going to launch this actually in December…but we wanted to keep pushing the idea to make sure that the campaign that we put out there was really about championing and empowering nurses,” Reddy said.
The “UnResignation letter” ran in The New York Times and was shared on social media as well as in out-of-home ads at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference which took place last week.
The letter, which asks nurses to make a pledge to the profession, launched alongside an online spot, Don’t Quit, which depicts the grit and perseverance nurses show every day. Actors in the spot are also registered nurses.
ConnectRN also created a website where nurses could sign the letter.
As of January 13, the letter has 1,100 signatures.
“What's happening with nurses right now is that many of them feel that they didn't have much of a choice, given the working conditions that they were dealing with [during COVID],” said Kevin Mulroy, partner andexecutive creative director at Mischief USA. “Nurses do this for a love of the job, and it's oftentimes a very thankless job and it takes a huge heart and a lot of empathy to do it. We wanted to make sure that the perspective we took was a positive one and remind people that by no means did nurses want to quit; they felt like they had to because it was affecting the way they were able to care for patients.”
According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of ConnectRN, half of all working nurses were considering leaving the profession by the end of 2022. Meanwhile, more than half of nurses polled felt as if they always had to be on call, while 90% felt that their patient care suffered due to nursing shortages.
Nurses' working conditions have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed hospitals to capacity and healthcare workers to the brink of exhaustion.
Reddy admits ConnectRN’s campaign won’t solve the nursing crisis, she hopes the campaign will spark a conversation among policymakers, unions and lobbyists to protect and help nurses.
“We believe that radical flexibility and listening to nurses in an ongoing way so that we can create the next chapter of healthcare is critical. We're not trying to judge any other healthcare provider or any hospital. We're saying that nurses should have a voice,” she said.
The campaign will run through March in U.S. markets including Boston, New York and California.
This story first appeared on campaignlive.com.