Survey finds Gen Z, millennial nurses struggling more during pandemic

The younger group said they experience more negative emotions than did nurses 55 and older

Nurses’ mental health has been an oft-discussed topic during the coronavirus pandemic, with many surveys finding the stress too much for some health care workers. Some nurses, however, are suffering more than others, a new survey reveals.

The American Nurses Foundation and Joslin Insight surveyed 12,694 nurses nationwide January 8-29, 2022. The survey was the second impact assessment survey conducted. The first was completed, or partially completed, by 22,316 nurses between January 19 and February 16, 2021.

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“As of this study, 60% of acute care nurses report feeling burned out, and 75% report feeling stressed, frustrated, and exhausted, and for nurses under 35 the data is even more alarming,” the report reads.

The study found a significant difference in mental health between older and younger nurses. Overall among respondents, 30% said they’re “not” or “not at all” emotionally healthy, but for younger nurses, that figure was 46%. For nurses 55 and older, it was just 19%.

The younger group also said they experience more negative emotions, with 66% reporting feeling anxious and 43% saying they felt depressed. For nurses 55 and older, however, 35% felt anxious and 21% had felt depressed.

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The younger nurses’ responses may stem from their feelings of not being supported. Only 19% of this group agreed with the statement “my organization really cares about my well-being.”

The most startling revelation from the new survey, however, was that 61% of young nurses say they will leave or are considering leaving their positions.

With the country’s nursing shortage already at critical levels, having fewer young professionals could be devastating to the health care industry.

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