Just Released: Nursing 2023 State of the Profession Guide

In a recent survey, over 3,500 nurses from around the country shared their insights into the current state of the profession. They discussed how the last few years have impacted them professionally, as well as the changes they’ve seen in nursing because of the pandemic. 

Throughout the state of the profession survey, a few key trends emerged. Here’s a quick summary of what nurses are seeing today.

Challenges to the current state of the profession

No matter where they work, nurses have felt the sting of under-staffing and unsustainable nurse-to-patient ratios. COVID-19 exacerbated the already serious nursing shortage, and in the last three years, thousands of nurses have left the profession. 

These shortages have led to rising pressure on the nurses who remain. Many facilities are scrambling to cover shifts and leaning on nurses to work longer shifts, with less time in between shifts. Increasing responsibilities, combined with limited administrative support, has led to an epidemic of burnout. 

The COVID-19 pandemic took a terrible toll on our profession,” says Deborah Martin, DNP, MBA, RN, NE-BC, FACHE, Accredited Provider Program Director at Elite Healthcare. “We were face-to-face with the human impact of the ravages of the disease. Many nurses are suffering from PTSD and depression because of their experiences.” 

Silver linings 

Despite all these significant challenges, nurses did note some bright spots. Advocacy groups at both the state and national level are working hard to pass legislation mandating safe nurse-to-patient ratios. Recognizing that the caregivers also need care, other organizations are focusing on mental health and well-being. These groups offer resources and support for nurses feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. 

In response to the survey, San Jose University Nursing Instructor Joey Noël, RN, CCRN, CNRN, also advised current and potential nursing students to explore their options within the profession. “Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and go for it!” he said. “Don’t let anyone get in the way of your goals. Challenge and change are good, and in the end, it will make you a better nurse.”