- About two-thirds of nurses expressed some level of consideration to leaving the profession in a survey out last week from staffing firm Cross Country Healthcare and Florida Atlantic University's College of Nursing as the full impact of the pandemic on the nursing workforce continues to snowball.
- Career satisfaction is a pain point: Just 32% of nurses surveyed said they are very satisfied with their occupation, compared to 52% who said the same prior to the pandemic, the survey found. Nursing shortages causing inadequate staffing were the top contributor to lower job satisfaction.
- New staffing approaches would make the profession more manageable, as would higher wages, nurses said.
Burnout is rampant across all industries almost two years into the pandemic, though nurses and those on the front lines could be a major player in the "Great Resignation."
Most major for-profit and nonprofit health systems reported rising labor costs and challenges recruiting and retaining staff in the third quarter, with some dangling steep sign-on bonuses or other incentives to attract needed employees.
At the same time, demand for healthcare staff isn't likely to abate as quickly as expected with the new omicron variant in the country.
Some 29% of nurses said their desire to leave the field is significantly higher than before the pandemic, according to the survey that includes 570 responses from nurses between May and June.
And nearly 37% of nurses said they were burned out, stressed or overworked, spurring an increasing number to say they're dissatisfied with their careers and considering leaving their jobs, the survey found.
Throughout the pandemic, healthcare labor unions have been active staging strikes and protests for better staffing and higher wages to help initiate that.
In the survey, 97% of respondents agreed and 81% completely agreed that pay increases and other incentives would attract and retain nurses.
Additionally, 85% of nurses strongly believe a national licensure system that would allow nurses to practice across state lines would greatly help with shortages across the country.
It's unclear whether a mass exodus of nurses will happen or when it would happen, though the findings jibe with other research on burnout within the profession exacerbated by the pandemic.
In February, McKinsey researchers surveyed 400 nurses across different settings and found a 60% increase in the number planning to leave compared with its 2020 report.
Nursing roles are also overwhelmingly held by women who've had to shoulder the burden of childcare and other responsibilities throughout the pandemic increasing their overall workloads.