ANA survey reveals top 15 causes of nurse burnout

More than half of respondants to the American Nurses Foundation’s fourth annual survey said they felt symptoms of burnout.

“Another year, and sadly another disturbing report on the state of nursing. What we’re finding year over year is that not much has changed since the start of the pandemic, which to me is the most alarming finding from this report,” Kate Judge, executive director of the American Nurses Foundation, stated in a Nov. 7 news release.

“Another disturbing statistic is that younger nurses and less tenured nurses — a key demographic in shoring up the nursing pipeline — are more negatively affected by burnout, turnover and mental health challenges,” she continued. “What nurses need now is a radical transformation in all levels of support and resources they receive. We need everyone in positions of power and decision-making ability to invest in nursing. The fate of our health care system depends on it.”

According to the press release, 56% of U.S. nurses are experiencing burnout, including emotional exhaustion, and 64% say they feel “a great deal of stress because of their job.”

In May, more than 7,400 nurses were surveyed about mental health related to their jobs. According to the results, these were the top 15 contributors to their feelings of burnout (respondents could choose up to three):

  • Not enough staff to adequately do their job: 30%
  • Patient load and clinical task volume: 23.36%
  • Poor or difficult leadership: 22.79%
  • Too many administrative tasks, such as charting, electronic health records and documentation: 21.59%
  • Challenging patients and families: 17.63%
  • Insufficient compensation: 17.28%
  • Lack of respect from colleagues or employer: 15.24%
  • Working too many hours: 11.21%
  • Lack of respect from patients/families: 10.55%
  • Workflow issues: 9.57%
  • Lack of teamwork: 8.73%
  • Unable to request leave as needed: 7.9%
  • Organizational values: 6.69%
  • Insufficient supplies: 5.62%
  • Lack of autonomy over life outside of work: 5.19%

According to the study, 20% said they had changed positions in the previous six months, with 39% saying they were likely to do the same in the next six months. That number was 41% for direct care nurses. The three main reasons given for the job changes were insufficient staffing, feeling unvalued by their organization and inadequate compensation.

ANA’s health and wellness survey is part of the Pulse on the Nation’s Nurses Survey Series.

About the Author