Millions of registered nurses face growing pressures on their professional and personal lives in the new decade because of increased demand for services, nursing shortages, and structural changes in the healthcare industry, according to a newly released survey of nearly 20,000 RNs by AMN Healthcare.
The survey, AMN Healthcare 2019 Survey of Registered Nurses: A Challenging Decade Ahead, found warning signs of larger problems ahead, including that significant percentages of nurses are working second jobs – and many with two full-time jobs. Nurses say they are unable to spend the time they need with patients, and most have been affected by some form of workplace violence, a recognized hazard of the healthcare industry. Nurses are concerned that their jobs affect their health, and many say they are planning to leave their current jobs, either to another nursing job, retirement, or getting out of bedside nursing altogether. Their biggest influence to remain at a job – even greater than pay — is flexibility and work-life balance.
Nursing Pressures Grow in the 2020s
Pressures on nurses may intensify in the next decade as the aging of America enters a rapid phase, which will increase demand for healthcare services (people 65+ have three times more hospital days than the middle aged) and accelerate the retirement wave of Baby Boomer nurses. At the same time, the healthcare industry will undergo dramatic structural changes because of consolidation and the movement to value-based medicine.
“From everything we know, this next decade will be extremely challenging for the nursing profession and healthcare in general, with serious workforce issues facing healthcare organizations at a time when many nurses are already experiencing tremendous pressure,” said Dr. Cole Edmonson, chief clinical officer at AMN Healthcare. “The 2019 RN Survey can help healthcare organizations understand and prepare for the workforce issues they face, particularly through addressing the need for greater flexibility and work-life balance, better professional development opportunities, embracing diversity, and reducing workplace violence.”
The survey found that more than one in five nurses holds more than one job, and many of them hold two full-time jobs. Two-thirds worry that their jobs are affecting their health, 44% say they often consider quitting their jobs, and 41% say they usually don’t have the time they need to spend with their patients.