ConnectRN tells nurses ‘don’t quit’

The push highlights tough working conditions that have gotten worse.

Half of nurses are considering leaving the profession.

WALTHAM, MA: ConnectRN, a nursing staffing agency, launched a campaign this month with an advertisement in the Sunday edition of The New York Times to increase awareness of the challenges nurses have faced in recent years.

The double-page spread featured an image of an ordinary-looking resignation letter.

But the UnResignation Notice ad aims to show that despite recent reports of nurses feeling burned out amid the COVID-19 pandemic, “a nurse does not ever want to quit anything,” said Jen Reddy, chief marketing officer of connectRN. 

“They go in wanting to give 100% every single time they step onto that floor, but there's a mental and a physical toll that has taken over the past three years where they didn't feel like they had a choice” but to quit, said Reddy. 

Half of nurses are considering leaving the profession, according to a recent connectRN survey. A survey from Trusted Health, a healthcare advocacy group, published over the summer, put the number at 64%.

This month, more than 7,000 nurses in New York City went on strike, citing chronic understaffing.

“It's starting to become really noisy,” said Reddy. “We wanted to have the singular voice that represents hundreds of thousands of nurses, to tell a really poignant, personal story that made people stop and say…’This person doesn't want to quit, how can we help?’”

The Times advertisement, created by the agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address, begins, “Dear Healthcare Leaders.”

“The essence of my job is to make sure that my patients don’t quit,” the letter states. “Don’t quit fighting. Don’t quit smiling. Don’t quit believing.”

“But in the past few years, being a nurse became something else. To provide care, I had to risk my own care. Making it impossible for me to truly be there and help my patients. So I had to do something that goes against my nature: I quit.”

The letter states that the nurses believe in a system “that provides us with true flexibility and understands our worth. That allows us to balance work & life, and respects us as professionals and as human beings.”

In New York, one of the nurses who went on strike told the Associated Press that her 12-hour operating-room shifts often stretch to 14 hours because of the lack of staff, which forces her and others to work overtime. 

ConnectRN drafted the letter based on hundreds of conversations with nurses, Reddy said. 

“This letter was really born from: ‘what would happen if one of these nurses could tell their story,’” Reddy explained.

The creative team chose the plain presentation, which also featured signatures, because “it's a very simple way that you can digest it,” Reddy said. “You just can read it and feel seen, and that letter in a lot of ways is a love letter to nurses.”

The campaign also includes a website with the letter that people can sign. A video on the site shows nurses working under duress. 

“As nurses, we have to keep thinking that things will get better,” a narrator says, as we see nurses caring for patients. The narrator keeps saying, “Don’t quit” until a woman takes a long breath before a mirror and  the narrator says, “They need you.”

The spot closes with text stating, “It’s not in a nurse’s nature to quit. But thousands of us did. Something needs to change.”

It then includes a link to the campaign website and the company name. 

“The whole spin is that they go through their whole day telling all of these amazing patients that they care for not to quit, but they also have to tell themselves that every single day to continue to come back, come back to a job that isn't really serving them in the way that they had hoped,” Reddy said of the vision for the video.

The campaign, which will run through March, also includes out-of-home advertising in New York, Boston and San Francisco and media buys in Fast Company, TechCrunch and Yahoo, according to Dini von Mueffling Communications, which is managing public relations for the campaign. 

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