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Many Nurses Unhappy with Careers, Practice Setting

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   January 05, 2018

While most nurses find patient care rewarding, 51% said dealing with hospital administration, workplace politics, and lack of respect from doctors and managers all takes a toll.

One in five nurses would not become a nurse if they had a chance to do it again, according to the Medscape 2017 Nurse Career Satisfaction Report, which surveyed more than 10,000 U.S. nurses.

Respondents who said they would not become a nurse if they had a do-over stated they were planning to either pursue a new career or retire earlier.

“What these findings tell us is that while the majority of nurses overall are satisfied with their careers, there are fault lines that could exacerbate the projected nursing shortage,” Laura Stokowski, RN, MS, Medscape Editor, Nurses, told HealthLeaders via email.

She notes that more than half of all nurses in the survey said that workplace politics and a perceived lack of support and respect from the administration, doctors and colleagues can sap the satisfaction that comes with nursing. 

For instance, although the survey shows that the majority of respondents find patient care rewarding, 51% said dealing with hospital administration, workplace politics, and lack of respect from doctors and managers all takes a toll.

Also, more than half of respondents—60%— also don't like their practice setting, and many said that they are increasingly looking for alternatives to hospital jobs that may offer more work/life balance.

“Some of these issues, such as work/life balance, can be challenging in a hospital environment,” Stokowski said. “But nurse leaders and hospital administration can, for example, partner on instituting programs and practices that systematically gain insights from nurses on the workplace culture and collaborate to address issues of respect and fairness.”

In addition, she said hospitals should have “robust recruitment efforts,” including signing bonuses, to combat nursing shortages.

Hospitals should also be aware of the needs of retiring nurses and consider whether they should do more to help them prepare, Stokowski said.

“About half of all nurses in our survey receive guidance on planning for retirement, and a small percentage have the option of reduced hours or less physically demanding work,” she said. “But about half of nurses get no retirement planning guidance or adjustments at all.” 

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.


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