February 8th, 2010 | The Blog
A survey conducted by AMN Health Care indicates deep career dissatisfaction among nurses, particularly RNs. The figures are pretty startling, and as AMN points out, the survey was conducted in a deep recession.
This survey comes from an agency that has a direct interest in this information. AMN is an industry staffing service, so it’s not good news for anybody in the sector.
This information should be a wake up call for the health care industry. AMN surveyed 1399 people. Looking at career intentions is a good survey methodology, because it reflects directly on the baseline position of the people surveyed.
The results are startling, and even allowing for sample deviations, the numbers should send a chill to health care staffing professionals:
Almost nobody believes the nursing shortage will be addressed by health care reforms.
29 percent of nurses are considering options that will either reduce their role or take them out of nursing. That’s a gigantic number of people. If 29 percent of nurses reduced their hours by one shift a week, that’s 729,453 shifts less per week, according to Bureau of Labor stats for total numbers of US registered nurses employed in December 2008, which was 2,618,700. That’s 39.49 million shifts per year. That would cripple the entire sector.
AMN makes the point that these views are influenced by current jobs, but in career terms only 59 percent would still choose nursing as a career. Not a good advertisement for the profession, and a clear indicator of how strong discontent is within the sector.
Six percent of nurses intend to retire in the coming year. That’s a very large number of people, well over the average attrition rate (AMN says this means 70,000 nurses, but it looks like they mean California only. Against the U.S. total, it could be 157,000, based on BLS figures). Current intake of new nurses would have a very hard time trying to keep up with that rate of loss, let alone cover the anticipated shortage of 26o,000 nurses expected by 2025.
As a benchmark, the survey raises some serious questions thatl need to be answered very soon. This isn’t the sort of problem that shows up as a glitch on stats and goes away. If these numbers are even half right, the sector is about to be hit by a 10 on the Richter scale of problems. There’s simply nothing there in the domestic employment market to absorb these losses. Even massive intake of foreign nurses would be playing catch up with the shortages.
Questions like these:
AMN has done the sector’s work for it. The barely credible conceptual broomstick holding up the dilapidated old health sector shack can take only so much. This situation needs a holistic sector wide approach, covering all aspects of demand, or the whole mess falls over.