American Nurses Foundation, Pulse on the Nation's Nurses COVID-19 Survey Series: COVID-19 Impact Assessment Survey – The Second Year
Vice President, Healthcare Policy and Government Affairs
According to a recent survey from the American Nurses Foundation (ANF), 23 percent of those nurses surveyed planned to quit their jobs in six months. In American Nurses Foundation, Pulse on the Nation's Nurses COVID-19 Survey Series: COVID-19 Impact Assessment Survey – The Second Year, Jan. 2022, the ANF examined outcomes and the further impact of the pandemic on nurses.
Participants were asked questions about mental health, well-being, economic effects, access to personal protective equipment (PPE), perceived organizational support, and their desire to leave. Findings from the survey include:
- Almost nine out of every 10 organizations where nurses work are experiencing a staffing shortage, with over half characterizing it as severe. Nurses indicated the inability to deliver quality care consistently as a top reason for their intent to leave.
- The pandemic has disproportionally impacted younger nurses compared to older nurses. Of nurses under 35, 66 percent reported feeling more anxious, in contrast with 35 percent of nurses 55 or older.
- The average age of practicing registered nurses is rising. It’s now 48, with about half over 50. It's projected that over 1 million RNs will retire by 2030.
- COVID-19 has driven stress, frustration, and exhaustion in the nursing profession. It has also driven workplace mistreatment, with 66 percent reporting increased bullying, as well as mistreatment from patients and families.
Nurses are not the only ones moving to other options during this period, which has been described as the Great Resignation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the six months from April to September 2021, 24 million Americans quit their jobs, and position openings during this period were double the number of monthly resignations. Over 20 months from February 2020 to September 2021, healthcare lost an astounding 525,000 workers.
The labor shortage tends to feed on itself, creating a downward spiral. When an organization is short-staffed, those who remain face more significant stress and strain, leading to more resignations. There are about 3 million practicing RNs in the United States, so 23 percent equates to about 700,000 nurses. Lest people think that's unrealistic, a survey by Elsevier Health found that 47 percent of U.S. clinicians, doctors, and nurses plan to leave their jobs in two to three years.
So how can we turn this around for the long term? Leveraging an intelligent infrastructure of automation, robotics, and data intelligence can help to streamline workflows and increase productivity by automating tasks, freeing nurses and other clinicians from labor-intensive and manual processes. By transforming healthcare workers' jobs to be more analytical and patient-centered, an organization can redefine healthcare career paths, enabling them to attract and retain talented workers.
Join Omnicell at the American Organization for Nursing (AONL) Annual Conference through April 14 in San Antonio, Texas, to learn more about our vision to free up logistical and administrative tasks, allowing clinicians to focus on what matters most: taking care of patients. See how our automated dispensing systems empower nurses to streamline workflows, heighten patient safety, and ultimately help to improve job satisfaction.
The Omnicell Blog is the leading source for pharmacy care, exploring emerging trends, successful best practices, and ideas and insights focused on the digital transformation of pharmacy. Subscribe today.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s). These views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time and may not be held in perpetuity.