The 2017 Medscape Nurse Career Satisfaction Report found that the vast majority of nurses are happy with their work, but many nurses still would like to change careers or retire early.
Each nursing specialty, gender, age and role were widely pleased with their career choice. However, 15% to 21% of nurses depending on nursing specialty said they would have chosen another profession. The finding mirrors the results of last year’s Medscape nursing report.
For those dissatisfied with their work, nurses said they planned to pursue new career paths or take early retirement.
The annual survey asked more than 1,000 nurses about their jobs and whether they would still choose nursing if they knew what they know now. The vast majority of nurses across the board said they were glad they became a nurse — well more than 90%.
Nurses said the best part of their job is helping people/making a difference in people’s lives. Forty-two percent of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and 37% of registered (RNs) chose that as the most rewarding aspect of their jobs.
Meanwhile, the least satisfying part of RN and LPN jobs is administration/workplace politics. Twenty-eight percent of RNs and 23% of LPNs rated that as the least satisfying aspect of their jobs.
The results shouldn’t be a surprise. Nurses are stressed and burnt out in many cases. Surveys, polls and studies report that nurses are working longer hours with more responsibility and less time to care for patients. An RNnetwork study earlier this year found 70% of nurses feel burnt out and half of the nurses have considered leaving the profession.
The Medscape survey isn’t the first this year to suggest some nurses are looking to leave the profession. A Kronos Incorporated survey earlier this year found that 90% of nurses are thinking about leaving their hospital for another job because of a poor work/life balance. Also, most of the surveyed nurses (83%) said hospitals are losing good nurses because other employers offer a better work/life balance.
Another added burden for nurses is technology. In some cases, nurses feel like technology is getting in the way of patient care. Lisa Radesi, who currently serves as the academic dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Phoenix, earlier this year told Healthcare Dive that when she started in nursing 38 years ago nurses used pen and paper. Now, they spend much of their time on computers and using other technologies. “They have to be computer savvy and electronically savvy. Fifteen or 20 years ago, you didn’t have to be," she said. "That’s a big role change for them.”
There's also the added workload. A University of Phoenix College of Health Professionals 2016 poll found that four out of five nurses are playing a larger role in patient care management than two years ago. Things may get even busier for nurses in the coming years.