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Nursing Study Indicates Unequal Workload for Less Experienced Nurses

19 Apr, 2023 F.J. Thomas

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Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) –Healthcare organizations are utilizing more advanced practice providers (APPs) than they ever have been. A recent report highlighted two cases in which nurses had tampered with the drug vials of patients in order to take the drugs themselves, ultimately impacting their patients and potentially exposing them to Hepatitis and HIV.

The two cases were just a small example of the mental health and burnout issues facing healthcare, especially APPs. While the pandemic was especially hard on APPs, some believe that the issues now coming to the forefront actually pre-date the pandemic, and that the pandemic has actually amplified these long existing issues.

Earlier this month, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing released the results of a study, Examining the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Burnout & Stress Among U.S. Nurses. The results are very troubling, indicating long standing un-resolved issues and potentially devastating care shortages within the next few years.

One of the driving factors in dissatisfaction among nurses is inequality of workload, which has been a complaint among RNs and LPNs for many years. In this particular study, researchers confirmed that complaint, especially among those nurses with 10 years or less experience. In fact, RNs with less than 10 years’ experience were 20 percent more likely to report an increased workload during the pandemic in comparison to their more experienced peers. For LPNs or LVNs the percentage was 16 percent.
Due to the stress and burnout during the pandemic, the nursing workforce across all levels has decreased by 3.3 percent, with RN’s declining slightly less at 2.7 percent.

Overall, 2022 estimates show that around 97,312 RNs left the industry during the pandemic. However, the exit rate of those nurses with less experience was even higher. The average age of nurses with 10 years or less experience is 36, and the rate of decline in that demographic was 3 percent, accounting for 41 percent of the total number of nurses that left healthcare.

Additionally, 15.2 percent of those remaining nurses with 10 years or less experience indicated that they planned to leave nursing within the next 5 years. The researchers estimate a projected a gap of 200,000 to 450,000 nurses in the United States by 2025. The researchers also noted a clear association of increased stress levels in those nurses that had more than 10 years’ experience, at an average age of 57 which drove an intent to leave as well.

Overall, 50.8 percent of the nurses polled reported feeling emotionally drained, and 56.4 stated they felt fatigued every day. Not quite half at 45.1 percent reported feeling burned out, and 29.4 stated they felt they were at the end of their rope a few times a week or even daily. Under appreciation was reported by 22.6 percent and compensation by 17.5 percent.


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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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