Nurses Remain Passionate Despite Historical Issues in Need of Reform, According to Annual Industry Survey

Survey of nearly 2,000 employed and student nurses point to ongoing challenges that the profession faces and provides a roadmap to address their concerns. Courtesy of Alex Dolce, Florida Atlantic University

A new study of nursing professionals and students revealed that nurses remain passionate about patient care, citing helping people through meaningful work (66 percent) but highlighted areas of dissatisfaction and ongoing industry challenges, including pay rates/compensation (86 percent), staff shortages (53 percent), stress (39 percent) and burnout (35 percent) as the top career dissatisfiers facing the profession. The survey, conducted by Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. in collaboration with Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, provides insights to help equip healthcare facility leaders, academia, nursing students and professionals with the most pertinent issues challenging this occupation.

"Nursing is one of the most trusted professions in the world. A nurse is with you at all life stages—from birth to death and everything in between. They make life-changing decisions daily,” said Hank Drummond, PhD, senior vice president and chief clinical officer. “This study allows us to check the pulse on today’s challenges facing the profession and address them head-on by hearing their concerns and taking action.”

Among other key findings:

  • Student nurses reported they are most concerned about stress (45 percent), not enough staff to meet demand (35 percent) and feeling overworked (27 percent).
  • Nearly one-third (28 percent) of nurses indicated their desire to leave the profession had increased dramatically since the pandemic, while those who said their desire to stay had increased since the pandemic dropped from 24 percent last year to 4 percent this year.
  • Doing meaningful work, income and lifestyle are the main drivers for staying in the field. However, almost half (48 percent) of currently employed nurses said they would not become nurses again if they could talk to their former selves or did not know if they would.
  • Thirty percent of nurses said they plan to work in the profession for the foreseeable future, although 23 percent plan to look for a new career in one to two years and 13 percent plan to retire in one to five years.

"The results of our survey of nearly 2,000 employed and student nurses point to ongoing challenges that the profession faces, providing us with a roadmap to address their concerns with innovative strategies that meet the needs of the nurse and the health care system," said Safiya George, PhD, dean and professor at FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing.

The Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing offers accredited programs at all levels to prepare and train students including various tracks for a B.S.N., Master of Science in Nursing, PhD, and DNP focused in caring science. A BSN-DNP program with a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner concentration and post-graduate dermatology and telehealth certificate courses and other concentrations that intersect innovation and technology are also offered to address healthcare provider shortages.

Cross Country Healthcare is deploying strategies to transform the nursing profession, including an ongoing examination of pay rates and retention practices, identifying new pathways for education, licensing, and talent development, focusing on flexibility and growth opportunities and investments toward innovation to strengthen the nursing workforce.

"Nurses are passionate but exhausted, and there is room for meaningful changes. The demand for patient care is increasing exponentially," said Michael Skovira, chief medical officer at Cross Country Healthcare. "We must change how we educate, train, hire, manage and treat our nurses. We have all the tools to start now, but we cannot implement these practices if we continue to blame the pandemic for a situation that has been growing for years. We need to come together as an industry and start now."

Source: Florida Atlantic University