What nurses are saying

Here's what nurses are saying about their work life in our health care system, based on a survey of more than 5,000 nurses from across the country.

Many nurses want to leave their job, entirely.

  • 4 in 10
    nurses intend to leave their job, the profession or retire.


Well, there are a
few reasons.

Our health care system is understaffed.

  • 7 in 10
    nurses mention insufficient staffing levels and high workloads as the top reasons why they want to leave their workplace.  It's alarming. 59% of near misses or patient safety incidents can be attributed to understaffing and high patient loads.

Almost every nurse has experienced workplace violence.

  • 9 in 10
    nurses experienced some form of abuse over the last year.

As a result, many nurses struggle with their mental health.

  • 93%
    of nurses have registered some form of burnout symptoms.

Many young nurses regret their career choice.

  • 35%
    of early-career nurses are dissatisfied with their career choice. Meanwhile, 1 in 5 early-career nurses report their mental health as poor, very poor or terrible.

The risks of overtime.

  • 2 in 3
    nurses worry about the safety of working more than 12 consecutive hours. A lot of nurses, about 62% of them, work extra hours more than once a month because they feel they have to, especially when there isn't enough staff.

Our public health care system is at risk.

  • 32%
    of nurses say they are exploring agency work or increasing the amount of agency work they already do. Nearly half of new nursing graduates are interested in agency work. Private nursing agencies siphon nurses away from public health care institutions across the country.

How can we retain more nurses?

There's a lot we can do to take care of our nurses, so they can take care of us.

We can provide incentives.

Several nurses say these three incentives would keep them in the field: 

  • 67% of nurses say guaranteed days off would help them stay in the field.  
  • 64% of nurses say paying less tax would be a strong incentive to stay.
  • 69% of nurses say they would appreciate more flexible work schedules.