Vivian’s Third Annual State of the Healthcare Workforce Survey revealed that while nurse wages are up patient mental health, low staff ratios and a broken system that commoditizes nurses 63% of respondents considered exiting the profession in the next five years.
The US has crossed another grim milestone: Nearly two-thirds of nurses–63%–are considering leaving the field within five (5) years, up from 43% last year. But amid bleak statistics, there’s hope: 55% of travel nurses said they would consider switching to a permanent role, suggestive that nurses are willing to trade money for stability with a strong employer.
With from the nation’s leading healthcare hiring marketplace, Vivian Health’s third annual State of the Healthcare Workforce Survey findings feedback from over 3,500 nurses and other healthcare workers and provides year-over-year insights on their mental health, thoughts on wages, resign trends and attitude towards travel vs. permanent roles.
The survey also sheds light on what health system leaders must do to help heal damaged relationships with staff and to attract and retain crucial nursing talent. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital systems have had to rely on temporary labor to fill staffing gaps. The cost is unsustainable, the burden on nurses is steep, and continuity of patient care can suffer as medical professionals cycle through the system.
“We must do better to fix a hiring and employment environment that was broken long before COVID-19 hit. Our survey showed that nurses are uniformly reporting reductions in morale, with staff shortages plaguing the industry and contributing to worsening mental health of providers,” said Parth Bhakta, co-founder and CEO of Vivian Health, whose marketplace for clinical talent has been used by over 700,000 clinicians to find their next job. “Fortunately, they are also telling us what to fix about it. We have a roadmap from these caregivers on how to reduce the burden they face from working in short-staffed facilities. We must find a way to fix it.”
So, what will it take to recruit and retain healthcare workers? While compensation took the top ranking, it’s not everything. Nurses will base their decisions on four top factors in this order:
Staff to Patient Ratios
Significantly, “Benefits” was not a Top Four factor this year, whereas last year it was the second most important factor.
This year, nurses shared that though wages are up, compensation is not enough to keep them at the bedside: while 73.5% of respondents reported earning more than last year (average earnings $89,355), financial health, trauma from the pandemic, and burnout driven by a broken system that undervalues nurses are listed as common reasons for resignation. Nurses, on average, stated a willingness to accept $65 an hour for a permanent staff position. This rate, while higher than the average for a permanent nursing position, is lower than the average billing rate for travel nurses.
The pandemic has taken an especially hard psychological toll on healthcare workers. Nationwide, 41% of their physicians by Vivian Health reported that they have been seriously working in healthcare during COVID-19, while only 6.2% said it hasn’t been involved at all.
76% said that morale in their hospital had gotten worse since this time last year.
44% of respondents report that their unit is short-staffed “all of the time or every day,” and 46.6% say that 2021 staff shortages far surpass the defeats experienced in 2020.
79.4% said that their employers were not doing enough to support their mental health.
“Innovative strategies to support and nurture nurses’ mental health and wellbeing as they heal from the trauma of the pandemic will be critical to instruct that health systems and hospitals can become more attractive environments for caregivers to work in. We must make additional tools, resources, and support available to clinicians and do everything we can to alleviate staff shortages at our nation’s healthcare facilities to avoidpetuating the systemic challenges in the healthcare labor force and ultimately threatening the care of patients across the country,” Bhakta added.
Respondents were found using a combination of the Vivian Health platform, online communities for healthcare workers and other social media tools. Of 3,545 respondents, 77% were RN’s, with additional working answers as allied health and advanced practice professionals. Vivian Health’s methodological goal was to achieve a diversified sample that was representative of the overall nursing community across the United States.
About Vivian Health
Vivian Health, an IAC company (NASDAQ: IAC), is the leading jobs marketplace for clinical talent. Vivian Health empowers a broad range of healthcare professionals to find jobs they love across many types of healthcare work, including permanent roles, per-diem shifts, local contracts, and travel positions. Built on intelligent matching, transparent information, and the widest selection of job opportunities, Vivian Health offers healthcare job seekers an unrivaled solution for finding their next role. For employers, Vivian Health helps fill roles 50% faster than traditional recruiting practices and at a fraction of the cost, saving them millions of dollars, and helping to alleviate labor shortages in healthcare. Vivian Health is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Denver. To learn more about Vivian Health, visit vivian.com