'A crisis in nursing is upon us,' nursing survey shows, even after the pandemic | CNN (2024)

'A crisis in nursing is upon us,' nursing survey shows, even after the pandemic | CNN (1)

Nurse on staffing shortages: 'It's not only physically toxic, it's mentally toxic'

04:22 - Source: CNN


As an emergency room nurse, Terry Foster has cared for people on their worst days. He loves his work, and as president of the Emergency Nurses Association, a group that represents about 50,000 nurses, he’s met countless others who share a similar commitment to helping others. But he’s concerned about the future of his profession.

“I’ve worked in the emergency department 45 years, and you’re not going to hear people say that again. I don’t think you’re going to see that kind of tenure anymore,” he said.

(add caption) bymuratdeniz/E+/Getty Images About 100,000 nurses left the workforce due to pandemic-related burnout and stress, survey finds

Something changed with the Covid-19 pandemic, Foster said. That change is among the many captured in the 2023 Survey of Registered Nurses from AMN Healthcare, a nurse staffing company.

The biannual survey of 18,000 nurses, published Monday, points to what AMN Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Cole Edmonson called a “perfect storm” of problems for the profession that could leave the US health care industry without the nurses it needs.

The survey, which was conducted in January, shows a group of professionals who care very much about their work, but it also shows a significant decline in work satisfaction and a significant increase in stress levels. Many are thinking about leaving the profession.

“A crisis in nursing is upon us,” Edmonson says in the survey.

Nurses typically like their profession, surveys have found over the years. For more than a decade, their career satisfaction was around 80% to 85%. Yet when they were asked in the new poll whether they were extremely satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their choice of nursing as a career, the number dropped a full 10 percentage points from the most recent AMN survey, done in 2021.

If 71% of nurses say they are satisfied with their work in 2023, that’s still a lot of people, but the drop is concerning, said Christin Stanford, vice president of client solutions for AMN Healthcare.

“I don’t think any of us were prepared to see just how drastic the drop was in career job satisfaction, mental health and well-being, and what the overall feeling of the nurse profession today was,” she said.

Another troubling sign, she said, is that younger nurses seem less satisfied with their careers than older professionals.

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Research has shown that nurses who are satisfied with their work typically stay on the job. But only 63% of millennials and 62% of Gen Zers said they were satisfied with their career choice, as opposed to 78% of baby boomers.

“The overall data is very concerning. But if you segment out and look at a few different splices or populations within the survey data, it is even more distressing,” Stanford said.

The survey found that many nurses are thinking about leaving their jobs.

Hospitals could face the most instability. Only 15% of hospital nurses say they will continue in the same job in one year, the survey found.

Nearly a third of all the nurses surveyed said they are likely to leave the profession, up 7 points from the 2021 survey.

Only 40% said they will stay in the same job in one year, a 5 percentage-point drop since 2021. The rest said they will look for work as a travel nurse, move to part-time or per diem work, take a job outside of nursing or patient care, or return to school.

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Foster, who works as an emergency room nurse in Northern Kentucky and was not involved in the AMN survey, in part faults typical burnout. About 100,000 registered nurses in the US left the workplace due to the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the results of a survey published this month by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Foster says patients and their families have also changed in recent years.

“There’s just a new level of incivility from the public,” he said.

The same violence seen in social media videos of people attacking flight attendants or fast food workers is happening more and more in health care settings, he said. Health care workers are five times more likely to experience workplace violence than employees in all other industries, government surveys have found.

“We’re just trying to take care of people, and they’re lashing out at us,” Foster said. “It’s patients who don’t want to wait, or they act out or are very dramatic or violent. And sometimes our patients are fine, but their families will lash out at us and threaten us.”

This new survey showed that 4 out of 5 nurses said they experienced “a great deal” or “a lot of stress” in their work, an increase of 16 points since 2021.

Union nurses from the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) chant slogans on the picket line outside Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 9, 2023. Mike Segar/Reuters Health care is in crisis. New York's nurses strike is just the latest sign

More nurses said they worried that their job was taking a toll on their health, and they often felt emotionally drained.

Nearly 40% of nurses surveyed said they felt burnt out. Nearly a third said they felt misunderstood or underappreciated, and about the same number felt that they were not getting what they needed out of their job.

Another part of the problem is a lack of adequate staffing.

Only a third of those surveyed said they had the ideal time they needed with patients, a 10-point decrease from 2021. The percentage of nurses who were satisfied with the quality of care that they were able to provide fell 11 points, from 75% in 2021 to 64% in 2023.

Stanford said that in just a couple of years, the profession will be 1 million nurses short, partially because of a demographic change.

Baby boomers are reaching the age of retirement, and there will be more demand for nurses because boomers are also reaching the age when they need more medical care.

ORANGE, CA - April 14: A patient room is ready to use at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, CA on Thursday, April 14, 2022. Hospitals across California have seen a decrease in the number of COVID-19 patients. (Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images) Paul Bersebach/Orange County Register/Getty Images Opinion: How to fix American health care, according to 6 experts

Another problem is education. While the number of candidates who passed the nursing licensure exam has steadily grown over the years, according to the union National Nurses United, there are still many more people who want to become nurses than there are classes. Schools just don’t have enough people to teach, Stanford said.

There may also be a lack of interest in doing the work in today’s environment.

There are about a million registered nurses with active licenses who are not employed as nurses, according to a National Nurses United analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2021.

Coming out of the pandemic, far too many hospitals cut corners on staffing and allowed a higher nurse-to-patient ratio, said Kristine Kittelson, an RN in Austin and a National Nurses United member. Essentially, that’s placed nurses in a moral dilemma, she said, where they can’t completely help their patients even if they want to.

“We are being put in these challenging work environments that really forced us to feel like we, as nurses, aren’t providing the best care that we can,” said Kittelson. who also was not involved in the new survey. “We’re just not being given the resources that we need and the staffing that we need.”

More flexibility in schedules could help, Stanford said. Do nurses have enough flexibility to take time off and take care of themselves?

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Nearly every nurse who participated in the new survey said they wanted increased staff support, a reduction in the number of patients per nurse, an increase in salary, a safer working environment and more opportunities to share their input with decision-making.

“This is a great profession, and it’s very rewarding, but I think that the pandemic has really shown how undervalued we are,” Kittelson said. “We should just be able to put in a position to give patients what they deserve and not feel stressed.”

'A crisis in nursing is upon us,' nursing survey shows, even after the pandemic | CNN (2024)


What is the impact of pandemic to nursing field? ›

Nurses are leaving their positions due to the “crushing” stress brought on by COVID-19 patient surges (Fortier, 2020). From approximately March through October 2020, thousands of nurses across the country experienced reduced work hours or were cut all together.

What is causing the American nursing shortage? ›

An increase in the demand for care of the aging population. Many senior nurses approaching retirement age. A high nurse turnover rate. A lack of educators and faculty in the nursing field.

What is the problem with nurses in the US? ›

The national nursing shortage dates back decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it to crisis levels. One study predicts that, in the next two years, there will be a shortage of up to 450,000 bedside nurses in the U.S. In countries around the world, medical workers are pleading for more support.

Is there a nursing shortage 2023? ›

The percentage of nurses who said they were satisfied with the quality of care they provide also decreased from 75% in 2021 to 64% in 2023. About 94% of those surveyed said there was a severe or moderate shortage of nurses in their area, with half saying the shortage was severe, per the survey.

How did the pandemic affect the healthcare system? ›

The arrival of COVID-19 disrupted healthcare in various ways. Less urgent services were cancelled or postponed, while barriers imposed by curfews, transport closures and stay-at-home orders prevented some patients from attending appointments.

What factors are causing stress for nurses during the pandemic? ›

(2020) conducted a cross-sectional survey of healthcare workers in the United States (U.S.), including nurses, with results demonstrating higher levels of psychological stress during the pandemic due to a variety of factors, including isolation and having to send cohabitants away during the height of COVID infections.

What are the four challenges facing the nursing workforce in the United States? ›

Four challenges face the nursing workforce of today and tomorrow: the aging of the baby boom generation, the shortage and uneven distribution of physicians, the accelerating rate of registered nurse retirements, and the uncertainty of health care reform.

Which factor contributed to the current nursing shortage? ›

The Aging Population, Population Growth and Expanded Health Insurance Causes Increased Demand for Primary Care. Part of knowing why there is a nursing shortage and its effects on care delivery is understanding the growing demand for primary care.

What factors are contributing to the nursing shortage? ›

While many factors play a part in the nursing shortage, four are key:
  • An Aging Patient Population. ...
  • An Aging Nursing Workforce. ...
  • Low Nursing School Enrollment. ...
  • Burnout. ...
  • Other Articles in This Series.

Is there still shortage of nurses in USA? ›

According to the United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast published in the September/October 2019 issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality, a shortage of registered nurses is projected to spread across the country through 2030.

How can we solve the nursing shortage? ›

  1. 1 | Listening to Nurses Concerns. ...
  2. 2 | Prioritizing Workplace Culture Increases Retention. ...
  3. 3 | Prioritizing Nurse Retention Levels. ...
  4. 4 | Increasing Diversity in the Nursing Student Body. ...
  5. 5 | Addressing the Need for More Nurse Educators. ...
  6. 6 | Using Innovation to Address the Nursing Shortage.

Where is there a nurse shortage? ›

California will be adding the newest positions by 2030 – more than 110,000 – but is still estimated to be more than 40,000 nurses short. Likewise, Texas, New Jersey, South Carolina, Alaska, Georgia, and South Dakota are all projected to experience shortages in registered nurses.

Why are nurses leaving the bedside? ›

The survey found that chronic under-staffing was the No. 1 issue driving nurses away from bedside care, with hospital management and "burnout" as other factors. Just 1% of the nurses who responded to the survey considered the COVID-19 pandemic as a top issue driving them away from the job.

Is being a nurse worth it 2023? ›

Yes, becoming a nurse is worth it for many students. Nursing is a popular career path because nursing skills are needed in a variety of settings.

How many new grads quit nursing? ›

There are many reasons that nurses leave the profession and there are many overlapping systems within healthcare. But, one study found that a staggering 17% - 30% of new nurses leave their job within the first year and up to 56% leaving within the second year.

Why are healthcare workers quitting? ›

Higher acuity levels, increased patient volumes, and continued staffing challenges are key contributors — all of which prompt increased turnover, drive decisions to leave the profession, and pose care quality and safety risks.

How many nurses are leaving the profession? ›

About 100,000 nurses left the workforce due to pandemic-related burnout and stress, survey finds. About 100,000 registered nurses in the US left the workplace due to the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the results of a survey published Thursday by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

What impact did COVID-19 have on healthcare? ›

The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated community mitigation efforts enacted have altered the delivery of and access to healthcare across the U.S. For example, emergency department (ED) visits are down by an estimated 40% in many communities across the country; many in-person office visits have been either postponed ...

What are the biggest stressors for nurses? ›

In the United States, the number one cause of stress among nurses is teamwork — pressures associated with working together as a group, such as poor communication, conflict, and tension. This was followed by stressors linked to job circumstances, like employer demands and work satisfaction.

Why is being a nurse so stressful? ›

Nursing is known as a stressful job since it is associated with complex job demands and needs, and high expectations, excessive responsibility, and minimal authority have been identified as the main stressors [6].

How does the pandemic effect nurses mental health? ›

The gravity of COVID-19 pandemic is triggering further mental health challenges among nurses. The continuous stress nurses are facing, could trigger post-traumatic stress symptoms, poor service delivery, suicide ideation and suicide.

What are the five nursing problems? ›

The five stages of the nursing process are assessment, diagnosing, planning, implementation, and evaluation. All steps in the nursing process require critical thinking by the nurse.

What are the challenges as a new RN? ›

Here are some of the challenges nurses face in their profession:
  • Long shifts. Nurses often work 10- or 12-hour shifts. ...
  • Changing schedules. ...
  • Emotional involvement. ...
  • Physical demands. ...
  • Exposure to illness and chemicals. ...
  • Lack of nurses. ...
  • Changing technology. ...
  • Poor treatment from patients.
Mar 10, 2023

What are the issues and challenges faced by new nurses upon entering the workforce? ›

The workplace challenges many novice nurses face included having a high nurse to patient ratio, multi-tasking, experiencing the pressure to complete tasks by a certain time, not having enough time to take a break, feeling anxious when communicating with different healthcare workers related to a fear of making a mistake ...

Is the nursing shortage a global problem? ›

However, there is an estimated shortage of up to 13 million nurses around the world. The world would need millions more nurses to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.

What factor has had the greatest impact on the current nursing shortage quizlet? ›

The shortage of nursing faculty and clinical sites contributed significantly to the shortage.

Which factor contributes to the nursing shortage in the United States quizlet? ›

The nursing shortage is limited primarily to the United States. Downsizing for cost containment by hospitals contributed to the shortage. The use of unlicensed assistive personnel helped to supplement staffing shortages. Increasing the supply of nurses is an easy resolution to the shortage.

What impact has the nursing shortage has on healthcare? ›

Nursing shortages can significantly impact staffing levels, which is critical to delivering quality care. To deal with staffing shortages, hospitals may reduce the number of nurses they employ at any time. This can result in understaffing and nurse fatigue, both of which contribute to hospital errors and accidents.

What state has the highest nursing shortage? ›

California has the worst nursing shortage in the United States. It's predicted that by 2030, California will be in need of over 44,000 nurses. Other states with major hospital staff shortages include New Mexico, Vermont, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Arizona.

How is the U.S. nursing shortage being addressed? ›

In response to this national shortage, states have examined a variety of options to recruit and retain nurses. Specific policy levers include loosening licensing requirements, changing scope of practice laws, bolstering educational programs, and offering monetary incentives.

When did the U.S. nursing shortage begin? ›

In the mid-1930s, reports of an emerging nurse shortage began surfacing throughout the United States. Mercy Hospital School of Nursing class of 1936Many in the health-care field greeted news of this shortage with surprise.

How can we fix the shortage of healthcare workers? ›

The single most important way to reverse that is to support and expand partnerships between universities and community health care settings to develop additional residencies for graduating medical students as well as clinical training opportunities for nurses, respiratory therapists, radiology technicians, and others.

How long is nursing shortage last? ›

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country will need more than 203,000 new registered nurses every year through 2026 to fill the gap in care left by a retiring workforce. The average age of a nurse right now is 51.

What is the ethical dilemma of nursing shortage? ›

Because of this shortage, many nurses complain that they experience emotional distress and job dissatisfaction and end up not providing quality care to their patients. Such nurses end up in an ethical dilemma, whereby they must choose between caring for their own welfare or the needs of their patients.

Which state has the most nurses? ›

California contains the most professionally active registered nurses in the U.S. with 337,738 RNs, according to a ranking from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Which countries have the highest shortage of nurses? ›

Shortage by country
  • Canada. Main article: Nursing shortage in Canada. ...
  • Morocco. Morocco has far fewer nurses and other paramedical staff per capita than other countries of comparable national income. ...
  • Philippines. ...
  • United Kingdom. ...
  • Poland. ...
  • United States.

What is the average age of a nurse? ›

Average Age Of Nurses

The average age of a registered nurse in the United States is 44, though this may change as the demand for nurses increases.

At what age do most nurses retire? ›

At What Age Do Most Nurses Retire?
  • 7% of both women and men retired at age 63.
  • 8% of women and 7% of men retired at age 64.
  • 11% of women and 13% of men retired at age 69.
  • 9% of women and 6% of men retired at the age of 70 or beyond.
Aug 4, 2022

Which field of nursing has the highest burnout rate? ›

Critical care nurses suffer the highest rates of burnout.

This is mainly due to the nature of the job, as critical care nurses work specialize in the emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit (ICU). As such, their work environment is constantly fast-paced, meticulous, and demanding.

Why are nurses so burnt out? ›

Nurses may experience burnout due to a variety of causes. Some of the most common reasons for nurse burnout include long work hours, sleep deprivation, a high-stress work environment, lack of support, and emotional strain from patient care.

Will nurses ever be replaced? ›

Conclusion — Nurse Robots are Coming but Your Job is Safe

So, can nurses be replaced by robots in the future? In some respects, yes, however this is more likely to be in areas of administration or labour rather than in aspects of care—at least for now.

Is it really worth it to be a nurse? ›

A nursing career offers a high salary range for your level of education and can be a good choice for a more financially secure future. According to 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the salary range for registered nurses was 59,450 to 120,250 a year.

Is it prestigious to be a nurse? ›

A Gallup poll shows that nursing has been voted the most respected profession for 19 years running. Nurses are an invaluable liaison between physicians and their patients, spending more time with patients than any other healthcare team member. Nursing, in sum, is one of the most rewarding careers you can choose.

Why are so many nurses quitting? ›

Nurses also said their jobs offer little flexibility over their schedules, leaving them with little time to spend with friends and family and not enough opportunities to advance in their careers. More time off could help improve nurses work performance and alleviate burnout, the report said.

What percentage of nurses stay in nursing? ›

N) in January, showed on Monday that 30% of the participants are looking to quit their career, up 7 percentage points over 2021, when the pandemic-triggered wave of resignations began. The survey also showed that 36% of the nurses plan to continue working in the sector but may change workplaces.

What percent of people drop out of nursing? ›

According to the National League for Nursing, the national dropout rate for nursing programs in the United States is 20%, and this high attrition rate is considered problematic. The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission set the desirable retention rate at 80%.

What is the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on nurses burnout and related factors a rapid systematic review? ›

The studies determined that nurses' burnout levels were generally moderate level and above during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sociodemographic, occupational, psychological, and COVID-19-related factors affected this burnout.

How do nurses feel during the pandemic? ›

Studies of healthcare workers in several countries report that providers, including nurses, experience symptoms of exhaustion, anxiety, stress, depression, and posttraumatic stress related to the pandemic. 4 , 7 , 8 , 10 , 13 , 16 In particular, nurses may be more likely to report higher levels of anxiety, stress, and ...

What is Covid 19s impact on nursing shortages? ›

In a survey of more than 6,500 critical care nurses released in September 2021 by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 92 percent of respondents reported that that pandemic had “depleted nurses at their hospitals, and, as a result, their careers will be shorter than they intended.” Sixty-six percent said ...

What is happening to the nursing profession? ›

'A shortage of bedside nurses'

Nurses have been leaving hospitals, and more are thinking about walking away, at least in part due to the stresses of the pandemic. The number of registered nurses fell by more than 100,000 in 2021, the biggest decline in 40 years, according to an analysis published in Health Affairs.

How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect the mental health of nurses? ›

The gravity of COVID-19 pandemic is triggering further mental health challenges among nurses. The continuous stress nurses are facing, could trigger post-traumatic stress symptoms, poor service delivery, suicide ideation and suicide.

How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect burnout compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction in healthcare personnel? ›

The main results we found showed an increase in the rate of burnout, dimensions of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and compassion fatigue; a reduction in personal accomplishment; and levels of compassion satisfaction similar to those before the pandemic.

What is the prevalence and risk factors of burnout among health care workers during Covid-19 pandemic? ›

The prevalence of personal burnout was 44.6% (903), work-related burn-out was only 26.9% (544), while greater than half of the respondents (1,069, 52.8%) had pandemic-related burnout. Younger respondents (21–30 years) had higher personal and work-related burnout.

What is the trauma of nurses during COVID-19? ›

Frontline nurses are at high risk for developing PTSD as a result of direct or indirect exposure to traumatic situations and events during the COVID-19 pandemic. PTSD is a growing concern for frontline nurses. PTSD may affect a nurse's ability to provide quality patient care.

What factors associated with Texas nurses consideration to leave the nursing workforce impact of the Covid 19 pandemic? ›

Results: 311 Texas nurses completed the survey;nearly 19% considered leaving the nursing workforce, with the two most common reasons being an unsafe work environment and family/caregiver strains.

Who was the nurse who wasn't a nurse? ›

Brigitte Cleroux worked as a nurse, a teacher, and more — but she was a serial imposter, without qualifications. The CBC's Bethany Lindsay brings us her documentary The Professional, in which the people who came face to face with Cleroux share their stories and confusion about how this could ever have happened.

What problems are caused by nursing shortage? ›

Nursing shortages lead to errors, higher morbidity, and mortality rates. In hospitals with high patient-to-nurse ratios, nurses experience burnout, dissatisfaction, and the patients experienced higher mortality and failure-to-rescue rates than facilities with lower patient-to-nurse ratios.

Why are RNs leaving the profession? ›

Another recent report by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing found about 100,000 registered nurses left the profession since 2020. More than 600,000 intend to leave by 2027 due to stress, burnout and retirement.

Is nursing worth it 2023? ›

Yes, becoming a nurse is worth it for many students. Nursing is a popular career path because nursing skills are needed in a variety of settings.

What issues do nurses face today? ›

Here are some of the challenges nurses face in their profession:
  • Long shifts. Nurses often work 10- or 12-hour shifts. ...
  • Changing schedules. ...
  • Emotional involvement. ...
  • Physical demands. ...
  • Exposure to illness and chemicals. ...
  • Lack of nurses. ...
  • Changing technology. ...
  • Poor treatment from patients.
Mar 10, 2023


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