The nursing profession has seen a combination of exhaustion and isolation both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and now many nurses say they plan to explore other options that provide care and leave them feeling fulfilled after being weighed down for years by the taxing career. 

Diane Lynker is one of those nurses who traded in the scrubs of a medical office and now works at New Hope Community, a facility that enables independence of the developmentally disabled.

“She’s one of the best nurses we got,” said Jay, one of Lynker's patients.

Care at New Hope, based in Sullivan County, takes a different form, instead of a high-stress environment that comes with an intensive care unit, nurses are given the chance to work with patients one-on-one. 

“It’s really nice to have that continuity of care with somebody because we’re seeing them consistently," Lynker said. "I see them in a different light than you would in a hospital where they’re critical and in need of something immediate."

It's a much different setting than what most nurses are used to.

According to a 2022 study from the National Library of Medicine, 47% of ICU nurses were at risk for having posttraumatic stress disorder from working during the pandemic. At New Hope, the support system has one of their own, too. 

“That includes the house residency staff, the clinicians, everybody works as a team and that allows us to have the same goals for the [patients] and the nurses are a big part of that,” said Karen Kerendian, director of health services at New Hope. 

A study from the National Library of Medicine states that fatigue and burnout can also result in lower quality of care, which can increase the risk of mortality in ICU patients and errors in the health care environment.

“Coming from a more busy office setting, it’s nice to take that time with people and give them more individualized care,” said Lynker.