Nurses – the backbone of America’s healthcare system – are facing severe challenges that are pushing them out of the workforce. That’s according to a new data report released recently by Incredible Health, a career marketplace for permanent healthcare workers.

The third annual report, Nursing In The Time Of COVID-19, finds that pressures exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic are crushing some of the United States’ most essential workers, according to a news release.

The report includes the platform’s proprietary data of over 400,000 nurses – more than 10% of the nurse population in America – and results from a survey of more than 2,500 nurses. 34% of the nurses surveyed reported that it is very likely that they will quit their jobs by the end of 2022, with 44% of those citing burnout and a high-stress environment as the primary reason for their desire to leave.

Perhaps most disconcertingly, 65% of the nurses surveyed reported that they had been verbally or physically assaulted by a patient or a member of a patient’s family within the last year. Anger around hospital/COVID guidelines (52%) and frustration around staffing/care (47%) were the contributing factors leading to this aggression. One-third (32%) said they experienced racism in the workplace.

“Nurses keep our healthcare system running, and this report demonstrates what is already obvious: they are working in one of the single most challenging work environments imaginable,” said Dr. Iman Abuzeid, co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health in the news release. “Compensation is only one of many factors impacting nurse satisfaction. What nurses want are career advancement opportunities, flexible scheduling and a supportive work culture. Nurses are passionate people who want to continue to do what they love, helping patients and communities, but are facing a series of potentially addressable challenges.”

Travel Nurses

An ongoing flashpoint for the nursing field remains travel nurses. 77% of nurses surveyed reported seeing an increase in travel nurses in their unit during the past year. A third of those polled said that this increase made them dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied. Compensation is the heart of this issue – 86% of nurses reported that compensation differences were the main cause of their dissatisfaction with travel nurses, who are often highly paid by temporary staffing agencies to solve critical gaps. Additionally, nearly half (47%) of nurses believe the quality of patient care suffers from this kind of temporary staffing, and 33% note that unit culture changes with the addition of travel nurses.

Compensation is a critical issue for nurses but is only one contributing factor leading to high turnover. Close to half (42%) of those surveyed have started a new nursing role since January 2021. The main reason nurses moved to new roles was higher pay – 58% reported this as their motivating factor to find a new job, and 44% plan to change jobs due to burnout and the high-stress environment.

Other top reasons nurses changed jobs were searching for a different role (33%), an improved schedule (31%), their preferred location (25%), career advancement or training opportunities (24%), and better staffing overall (24%).

This is supported by the 250% increase in nurse sign-ups on Incredible Health in the past year. Despite nurses looking for higher compensation, proprietary data from the platform shows only small changes to the hourly rate nationally, but 42% of offers included signing bonuses, which is a 27% increase from the year prior. This signals a tactic employers are using to attract talent. Florida averaged the highest signing bonuses in the country.

More Stats

Proprietary data found that location has become less of a reason for nurses to reject a job interview, with a 28% decrease in interview rejections caused by location. This indicates that nurses are more open to relocating to find roles that better fit their needs and preferences.

One issue that has eased is COVID-19 vaccination. Last year, 73% of nurses said they had received the COVID-19 vaccine. Today, 89% of nurses surveyed have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 54% reported never having contracted the virus while at work.

In the past year, the median time to hire permanent nurses was reduced by 8% on Incredible Health, to an average of 22 days. 60% of the top-ranked hospitals in the United States use Incredible Health for their permanent staffing needs.

The full report with resources for nurses and health systems can be found here.

Source: Incredible Health