AMN survey: ‘A crisis in nursing is upon us’

Survey reveals depth of the problems facing the nursing industry today

“A crisis in nursing is upon us,” AMN chief clinical officer Dr. Cole Edmonson said in the organization’s survey of registered nurses. AMN Healthcare is a national staffing agency that has conducted the survey every two years since 2009.

“The survey data reveal the depth of the problems faced in nursing today and concludes with solutions that could help alleviate the strain posed by systemic staffing shortages and exacerbated by the pandemic,” Edmonson said in a press release. “The health of our nation is tied directly to the health of the nursing workforce.”

If that’s true, the health of our nation might be in trouble.

According to the results, career satisfaction, which had been at 80-85% for a decade, dropped to 71% for 2023. In addition, fewer nurses said they were likely to encourage others to join the profession, dropping 14 points from 2021.

The drop is concerning, Christin Stanford, vice president of client solutions for AMN Healthcare, told CNN.

“I don’t think any of us were prepared to see just how drastic the drop was in career job satisfaction, mental health and well-being, and what the overall feeling of the nurse profession today was,” she told the news organization.

The “highlights” of the survey, which included 18,000 registered nurses, are anything but. Among AMN’s findings:

  • Only 15% of hospital nurses said they will “continue working as I am” in a year, while 36% said they will work as nurses but somewhere else.
  • 30% of nurses said they likely will leave the profession because of the pandemic, up 7 points since 2021.
  • Four out of five nurses say they experience a “great deal” or “a lot of” stress, which is up 16 points from 2021. Worry their job is affecting their health is up 19 points, and often feeling emotionally drained went up 15 points.
  • Half of the nurses surveyed said the shortage is severe, with 94% saying there is a severe or moderate shortage of nurses in their area.
  • Half of nurses said the shortage will get much worse, while 80% said they expect the shortage to get much worse or somewhat worse in the next five years.

Data from this year’s survey also suggest solutions. “Comparisons show that positives are interrelated — reduction in stress and utilization of mental health and wellbeing services result in better career satisfaction and job retention,” AMN wrote in the press release.

The survey also showed the need for a “systemic transformation” in how facilities deploy health care workers, being more flexible for the most effective and efficient ways to cover the work.

Achieving these goals, AMN wrote, will require a collaboration among health care organizations, professional organizations, organizations representing patient groups, major health nonprofits, government agencies, elected officials and nurses themselves.