A recent survey of nurses shows that more and more nurses are facing increasingly difficult working conditions and are burning out. There are nearly 3 million registered nurses in America and the profession is still one of the fastest-growing in the country. According to a recent survey from AMN Healthcare, 22% of nurses hold more than one job as a nurse. And 37% of these nurses say that doing so “negatively affects their quality of life.” The survey also found that 27% of nurses have witnessed workplace violence, 41% have been victims of bullying, incivility, or any other forms of workplace violence, and 63% of nurses say their organization didn’t address the situation well at all. In the AMN survey, 66% of nurses said that they worry their job is affecting their health. In the AMN survey, 44% of nurses said they don’t usually have the time they need to spend with their patients.
The burnout leads to post traumatic stress disorder and an increase in substance abuse, addiction, and suicide rates. A study featured in the Archives of Psychiatric Nursing found that there are higher rates of suicide among those working in nursing compared to non-nurses. It also showed that nurses are “statistically significantly more likely to have reported mental health problems,” although it’s unclear whether or not their work environment plays a direct role in those figures.
“This is moral injury,” Mahon said. “They spent all these years in school, and they’re getting into an environment where basically they’re providing factory-level care. It feels like it’s so dehumanized.” Amid these industry changes, nurses feel like they can’t provide the same level of quality care as they used to.
Cole Edmonson, a doctorally-prepared nurse and chief clinical officer at AMN Healthcare, pointed to the distribution of nurses across the industry.
“If you look at the number of licensed nurses, there is not a shortage,” he said. “But you have to look at where those nurses are practicing, why they choose to practice in those area or leave those areas of practice.”