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Half of nurses surveyed considered leaving field, struggles persist with burnout

December 12, 2018

Burnout, overwork and harassment affected nurses and impact patient care in 2018, due in large part to the national nurse shortage, according to research released by travel nurse staffing provider RNnetwork.

The study found nearly half of all respondents, 49%, have considered leaving nursing in the past two years, a number that has not changed since RNnetwork’s 2016 survey. Sixty percent of nurses reported they spend the right amount of time at work, a slight decrease from 63% in 2016 and an indication that hours and expectations are increasing.

Burnout continues to be a significant problem among nurses as the nurse shortage persists. In 2018, 62% of nurses felt regularly burned out in their jobs and 44% of nurses believed that burnout had affected their work performance. 

“The fact that the majority of nurses are burned out and half are considering leaving their profession should be a wake-up call for the healthcare industry,” said RNnetwork VP Lynne Gross. “These survey findings reveal areas where providers can work together with nurses to improve working hours, reduce instances of workplace bullying and harassment, and address mental health.”

Other key findings include:

  • The nursing shortage has negatively affected workloads for 88% of nurses in 2018, up significantly from 62% in 2016. Forty-six percent feel more overworked than they did two years ago and most nurses, 62%, believe the shortage is negatively impacting the quality of care they can provide.
  • More than half of nurses surveyed, 54%, report their workload has negatively impacted their mental health. Thirty-five percent report the impact on mental health has likewise negatively affected their work.
  • Forty percent of nurses believe they have less free time now compared to two years ago. A similar number, 38%, feel their available free time has not changed in two years.
  • Nearly 40% of nurses report being bullied or harassed during the past year. More than 20% of nurses are also subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace.

RNnetwork polled more than 900 nurses working in the US, representing most fields and specialties. The majority of respondents had 10 or more years of active practice.

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