Workforce Shortages and Violence Are Rising Concerns in State of Nursing Poll

Workforce Shortages and Violence Are Rising Concerns in State of Nursing Poll. A clinician walks in front of a wall with unused scrubs handing from hooks.

The nursing field remains in a state of flux as caregivers wrestle with staffing shortages, concerns about their safety and more. Nevertheless, nearly four out of five say they plan to remain in the field until retirement, according to the recently released State of U.S. Nursing Report 2024 from the health care career marketplace company Incredible Health.

The fifth annual report, based on the firm’s review of its proprietary data of 1 million nurses and a survey of 3,300 RNs, also found that mental health among nurses is improving. The slow but steady improvement in this area is attributed to efforts by health systems to reduce burnout and foster a greater sense of community.

The findings about nurses who plan to remain in the field until retirement is similar to results from last year’s survey (79% vs. 81% in 2023) and should come as welcome news to health care executives. This is a sharp contrast to the 2022 survey, when only 55% of respondents said they planned to remain in the field until retirement — an apparent reaction to being overwhelmed during the pandemic.

Concerns about Staffing Shortages, Violence Persist

Despite a small decline in staffing level dissatisfaction, dropping from 55% in 2023 to 48% this year, 88% of respondents said they are concerned about the detrimental effects of staffing shortages on patient care. That’s up from 73% who voiced similar concerns last year.

Nearly two out of three nurses (63%) reported being assigned to too many patients and 23% said they have been asked to perform tasks outside their job descriptions.

And in what was a growing concern in this year’s survey data, on-the-job safety may cause many to reconsider their career options. Half of nurses reported having been verbally and/or physically assaulted by a patient or a member of a patient’s family within the past two years. More than one in four (26%) said they are likely to leave their current role due to these incidents.

Survey data also found that 21% of nurses had moved to another state through Incredible Health’s marketplace. Meanwhile, the largest spikes in demand on the company’s platform were for nurses in cardiac care, medical-surgical and the operating room.

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