Professional insights from nurses

The 2024 State of the Profession Guide: Professional Insights from Nurses, for Nurses 

For the last several months, the team at Elite Learning has been hard at work collecting data and professional insights from nurses around the nation. Our goal: To better understand the needs, challenges, and opportunities facing our fellow healthcare professionals. 

Over 2,500 nurses responded to our survey. In the guide, you’ll find their answers to questions regarding salaries, certifications, areas of employment, and specialty interests, as well as their perspectives on the current state of healthcare in the United States. 

Download the 2024 State of the Nursing Profession Guide 

It’s our hope that you can use this data to further your understanding of the profession you love and empower you with the knowledge you need to take the next steps in your nursing career. 

Professional insights from nurses: Key findings 

  • Nurses who responded to the survey work an average of 36 hours per week—down from 37 hours last year.  
  • 80% of respondents hold an RN license, 20% hold an LPN, and about 5% hold an NP.  
  • NPs and those working in hospice, case management, long-term care, and clinics tend to work the longest hours. 
  • NPs earn the highest salary and feel the most valued, while LPNs earn the least and typically work the more difficult shifts. 
  • The average salary of all nurses who responded to the survey is $77,204; however, this varies by gender, license, specialty, and work setting.  
  • Almost all (86%) nurses are concerned about the current state of the profession.  
  • Most nurses (92%) plan to maintain their license after they retire, in case they need to work again in an unpredictable economy. 

Challenges facing nursing professionals in 2024 

Half of the nurses’ satisfaction with their career decreased over time, with 30% feeling undervalued and 23% feeling that their place of employment is understaffed. Nearly half are not satisfied with their employer and 57% of nurses have experienced burnout over the past year, especially those 25-34, working long hours and are travel nurses. 

Almost all (86%) nurses are concerned about the current state of the profession. They are most concerned about the lack of staffing and shortage of nurses, leading to unfair nurse to patient ratios, burnout, patient safety care issues, too much workload, poor pay and lack of quality nurses. 

Related: Boundaries and Burnout: Strategies for Nurses to Maintain Self 

More likely to be extremely concerned: 

Work setting: 

  • Virtual healthcare (71%) 
  • Emergency department (64%) 
  • Hospice (62%) 
  • College/university (58%) 
  • Public health (56%) 


  • Palliative care (100%) 
  • Legal (100%) 
  • Cath lab (100%) 
  • Urology (67%) 
  • Rehabilitation (67%) 

Burnout and professional satisfaction 

Only about 50% of nurse respondents reported satisfaction with their current employer. Nurses employed in corrections, or working long hours and weekends are least satisfied. A company’s culture, benefits, and co-workers are the most important for job satisfaction. 

More likely to experience burnout: 


  • 25-34 (81%) 
  • Work 70+ hours (79%) 
  • Work as a travel nurse (67%) 
  • Work evenings, weekends (83%) 
  • 1 or less years’ work experience (70%) 
  • Work full time (61%) 

Job title: 

  • Public health policy management (100%) 
  • Vice president (100%) 
  • Clinic manager (84%) 
  • Supervisor (72%) 
  • Director (71%) 

Work setting: 

  • Urgent care (100%) 
  • Virtual healthcare (86%) 
  • Public health (81%) 
  • Emergency department (74%) 

License holders: 

  • NP (70%) 
  • RN (58%) 
  • LPN (57%) 

Opportunities for nurses 

Throughout the survey, nurses weighed in with their recommendations on how to meet the needs they see in the profession. Initiatives around better pay, mental health and emotional support, adequate staffing, and a positive work environment repeatedly came up as things that could help increase nurse retention. 

Although 57% of nurses would recommend new graduates to join the profession, this is strongly tied to their experience on the job. Nurses of Asian heritage, older nurses, and those who hold a DNP are more likely to recommend new graduates to join. 

Despite the uncertain environment and increased level of burnout, only 24% are considering changing professions. This represents a significant drop (16% points) compared to last year. Addressing the concerns of nurses about the current state of the profession and reducing their workload are key drivers to retain them.  

Professional insights from nurses: Top concerns 

We asked our survey participants, “What are your biggest concerns about the current state of the nursing profession?” Here’s what they said. 

  • “The lack of experience and critical thinking skills of the nurses of today.  The dependency on the computer to tell them what to do when they should be using their skills and their ability to think critically for themselves and to come to a definitive and acceptable solution or decision. The computer is only a tool.  Nurses still need that one-on-one time with the patient.” 
  • “Nursing has become a business. Nurses are still used as pawns. We are still not fully represented by most employers while we provide direct care in this broken medical system.” 

How have recent developments in technology impacted healthcare? 

We asked our survey participants, “What new technologies have nurses seen impacting healthcare in the last 18 months?” Here’s what they said. 

  • “Robots helping give medications at the bedside! Also, robots with computers helping answer questions from patients.” 
  • “I’m a burn specialist. [One notable new technology is] cloned skin cells that are sprayed onto the wounds.” 
  • “Zoom meetings with supervisors and virtual medical visits. Patients have access to medical results prior to staff interaction and explanation.” 

AI and the nursing profession 

We asked participants, “What impact, if any, has AI had on the nursing profession or healthcare in general?” Here’s what they said. 

  • “There is help with decision-making, but there is still a long way to go in determining the full impact of what AI will or can be.” 
  • “Computer assessment is good to a point—but. [I’m] hoping nurses stay focused on personal care. And I feel nurses are forced to push for productivity. Managers are less involved with their staff.” 
  • “AI takes away the nurse’s critical thinking skills. When the service goes down, she/he may not know what to do next. Also, patients want to be heard as an individual.” 
  • “It can be beneficial in helping plan for patient care, but it can also not replace the need for having physical caregivers who can assess patients with their skills.” 

Professional insights from nurses for new graduates 

  • “Be open-minded about the diversity of opportunities in your field. Wide open!” 
  • “Treat every patient as if it were someone you love.” 
  • “If your only incentive for being a nurse is big bucks, do yourself and patients a favor and find a different profession. Clinical nursing is hard work, and a person needs motivation to want to help people.” 
  • “Patient care is your priority. Treat patients with compassion. You are your patients’ advocate.” 
  • “Make sure [you] have a passion to serve people and excellent customer service skills. [Develop] good time management and critical thinking.” 
  • “Commit to continuing your education and advance your degree.” 
  • “[I]f you’re in an area you don’t love, move around until you find one you do. Don’t leave the nursing practice, evolve with it.”