- Half of nurses have considered leaving the nursing profession, according to recent polls by staffing agency ConnectRN.
- Staffing shortages were the top reason nurses cited for planning to leave their jobs, followed by needing better work-life balance, the survey out Tuesday said. Nurses also said they planned to leave their roles because their mental health is at risk and they feel a lack of appreciation.
- About 60% said staffing shortages make them feel like they don’t have control over their careers, and nearly the same amount said they don’t think their employers are doing enough to address ongoing shortages.
Widespread burnout driven by the COVID-19 pandemic is still causing major challenges across the healthcare workforce. While nurses have reported feeling burned out, leading them to consider leaving their jobs throughout the pandemic, physicians have also expressed those sentiments in more recent surveys.
Ongoing staffing shortages are a primary driver of burnout in healthcare roles now, with medical professionals lamenting their jobs have become increasingly stressful and workloads heavier due to a lack of staff.
Nurses across the country have waged a number of strikes this year in an effort to get better working conditions outlined in new contracts, with many campaigning for measures to improve staffing with the addition of more nurses and higher wages.
In September, about 15,000 nurses across seven health systems in Minnesota waged a three-day strike over staffing concerns they want addressed in new contracts. They returned to work afterward and still haven’t reached a deal.
ConnectRN’s most recent survey included responses from 1,000 nurses collected through October and found nine in 10 think nursing shortages are impacting the quality of care they’re able to deliver.
More than 50% said they feel guilty about taking a break and think they must always be on call. Nearly the same amount said their patients are suffering because they have too much on their plate, the survey found.
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. Nurses reported needing an average of four days off each month to feel recharged at work.
When creating their ideal work schedules, 65% said they would like to have a four-day weekend.
In order to feel empowered and able to stay in their professions, nurses said they want better communication with upper management, opportunities to negotiate salaries, better equipment and medical gear and chances of promotion, the survey found.
“Many nurses entered the profession because it was a calling and is a job that they love,” ConnectRN CEO Ted Jeanloz said in a release.
“If they feel burnt out and taken advantage of by the system when they show up to work, they will lose sight of why they became nurses in the first place. We owe it to them to offer the flexibility that so many other workers enjoy so they can be the best nurses they can be,” he said.