NEW YORK — According to a new survey, American nurses are overwhelmed by job demands, a long-brewing situation only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the majority of nurses continue to be dedicated to the care of patients, many are considering leaving the profession at a time when staff shortages are part of the problem. But there’s hope, according to industry experts, who say that understanding these challenges can lead to meaningful and necessary reforms.
The 2022 national survey, “The Future of Nursing: A Profession in Crisis,” of nurses and student nurses, was conducted by Cross Country, a market-leading tech-enabled workforce solutions platform and advisory firm, in partnership with Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing.
Overall, the study revealed that nurses remain passionate about patient care, with 66% citing helping people through meaningful work as a main driver for staying in the field. Nevertheless, ongoing challenges have created undue burdens for nurses, with pay rates/compensation (86%), staff shortages (53%), stress (39%) and burnout (35%) cited as top career dissatisfiers.
This frustration has put the industry in crisis: 28% of nurses indicated their desire to leave the profession has increased dramatically since the pandemic, while those who said their desire to stay has dropped from 24% in 2021 to 4% in 2022. This translates to a real potential loss of talent in hospitals, physicians’ offices, long-term care facilities and other healthcare settings. Of those surveyed, 23% plan to look for a new career in 1-2 years and 13% plan to retire in 1-5 years.
“We had hoped that as the pandemic eased, nurses would have better balance, mental health and working conditions, but we are not there and as a result, nurses are leaving the profession in droves,” says John A. Martins, president and chief executive officer, Cross Country Healthcare. “The time to fix these mounting problems is now.”
To that end, Cross Country is deploying several strategies to transform the nursing profession. These include an ongoing examination of pay rates and retention practices; identifying new pathways for education, licensing, and talent development; focusing on flexibility and growth opportunities; and investments toward innovation to strengthen the nursing workforce.
The company continues to invest heavily in technology and digital transformation to support these strategies. Among these initiatives is a new website dedicated to nursing candidates. Found at crosscountry.com, the site aims to help health care professionals find and engage with potential job opportunities more effectively.
Identifying new pathways for nursing education is also a critical steppingstone toward reforming the profession and addressing healthcare provider shortages. That’s why the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing offers accredited programs at all levels to prepare and train students, including various tracks for a BSN, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Ph.D. and DNP focused on Caring Science. Also offered are a BSN-DNP program with a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration and post-graduate dermatology and telehealth certificate courses, as well as other concentrations that intersect innovation and technology.
“Nursing is the greatest profession in the world. The experience you will get is priceless,” said one of the survey respondents. “Make sure you’re getting into nursing for the right reasons because I love coming to work and look forward to caring for patients every day. No two patients are alike, so every day in nursing is like a new experience and adventure. And you make the difference.”
To learn more about the challenges facing the nursing industry, visit crosscountry.com/the-future-of-nursing, where the complete study results, can be found.