A third of nurses plan to quit their jobs by the end of 2022, survey finds

Diving brief:

  • Job burnout during the pandemic continues to drive nurses out of their jobs, and more than a third of nurses recently surveyed by recruiting firm Incredible Health said they planned to leave their current jobs by the end of this year, according to a report released Wednesday.
  • Nurses cited burnout and high-stress work environments as the number one reason for leaving their jobs, followed by salary and benefits.
  • Among those leaving or considering leaving, higher salaries are the main motivating factor for taking other positions. According to the survey, nurses are also leaving for other jobs that offer greater flexibility and opportunities for career advancement.

Overview of the dive:

Hospitals are currently grappling with some of the worst staffing shortages they have faced since the start of the pandemic, as exhausted healthcare workers continue to leave their posts. Many are resigning to take on better-paying traveling nursing jobs or opting for early retirements, as systems try to cope with increased labor costs.

Burnout is a key factor driving nurses to quit, followed by salary, although salaries in general have not increased substantially, according to the Incredible Health report, which is based on data collected via its platform as well as a survey it conducted with more than 2,500 nurses. in February.

Instead of raising salaries to recruit and retain staff, the systems opted for hiring bonuses. The number of offers including such bonuses has increased by 162% over the past year, according to data from Incredible Health’s platform.

In Texas, 58% of offers included sign-in bonuses in 2021, up from 16% in 2020, and bonuses nearly doubled in value from $5,800 to $10,700. But wages in the state overall have fallen by 5% over the past year, according to the report.

Meanwhile, California has the highest nurse salaries, which are about 20% higher than the national average.

Hiring bonuses have been effective in encouraging nurses to move to new positions. According to the report, refusals of interviews due to location have decreased by 28% over the past year.

As the healthcare workforce continues to undergo major transitions two years into the pandemic, issues with traveling nurses continue to be a major pain point. They command much higher rates than permanent staff, prompting some to leave for these roles elsewhere and causing more problems for those who remain.

Of the nurses surveyed, 77% said they had seen an increase in the number of traveling nurses on their unit over the past year, and 33% said it had caused an increase in dissatisfaction among permanent staff, according to the report.

Pay differences were the biggest cause of dissatisfaction, and a unit’s culture changes amid influxes of temporary staff, the nurses reported.

At the same time, nurses said patient frustrations, racism, discrimination and assaults were on the rise, in part due to ongoing COVID-19 guidelines. Some 65% of nurses said they had been verbally or physically abused by a patient or patient’s family member in the past year, the survey found.

While 52% attributed this to pandemic-related restrictions, 47% said it was the result of longer wait times and other issues caused by a lack of staff.

Current staffing shortages are so troublesome that they are the top patient safety concern for 2022, according to another report released Monday by healthcare safety organization Emergency Care Research Institute.

ECRI researchers said shortages are actively compromising patient safety, with many patients waiting longer for care, even in life-threatening emergencies.

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