If you’re a nurse or planning to make it a career, a new study might help your decision.

According to the 2023 State of US Nursing Report, now in its fourth year, the report – which includes the platform’s proprietary data of more than 700,000 nurses and results from a survey of more than 3,000 nurses – points to specific improvements within the nursing profession but also cites ongoing challenges.

Today, 80% of nurses plan to stay in the industry until retirement, up from 55% in 2022. Still, a majority (84%) do not think the nursing industry is improving fast enough when it comes to addressing understaffing, burnout, and pay, according to a news release.

“There is no doubt that we are seeing improvements in key areas within nursing likely due to market forces and hospital executive attention,” said Iman Abuzeid, M.D, co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health. “However, there are several identifiable areas where more focus by health systems, nursing education leaders, and Incredible Health would have a significant impact on the overall nursing experience and make the field more highly attractive to new nurses.”

The Big Picture

While 54% of those surveyed would continue to recommend a career in nursing, there are some key areas for improvement:

  • Staffing shortages: the vast majority (93%) of nurses surveyed reported that staffing shortages have worsened over the last year. It’s no surprise that, as a result, 73% point to inadequate staffing as their top concern in the industry, and 55% report being dissatisfied with the current staffing in their facilities. Burnout closely follows staffing as a main concern for nurses in the field and is the top reason nurses would leave the industry ahead of retirement.

  • Compensation gaps: only one-third (33%) of nurses reported feeling fairly compensated in their roles. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of nurses reported they have considered shifting from a permanent role to a travel nurse role primarily for a pay increase.

  • Macroeconomic stresses: nurses are not immune to the economic climate. 84% reported increased stress at work due to the state of the economy and 69% of nurses reported being impacted by the economic downturn. Those surveyed pointed to layoffs, delaying retirement, and picking up additional jobs to make ends meet as ways they were impacted. 59% of nurses reported feeling dissatisfied about how their organization addressed recent economic concerns with staff, leaving room for improved communications.

Incredible Health has worked closely with health systems to address these specific areas. For example, stronger operational excellence in hiring, including direct hiring manager scheduling and same-day job offers, has helped increase the hiring of permanent staff. Incredible Health also provides analytics to benchmark the speed, conversion rates, brand, and salaries of hospitals with their local and national competitors. Hospitals using Incredible Health hire nurses in fewer than 20 days–decreasing the stress on nurses with understaffing concerns.

Looking Ahead

Since the last Incredible Health State of Nursing report in March 2022, there has been a 10% decrease in the number of nurses planning to leave their roles within a year. This is likely due to improvements in several areas. Key findings include:

  • Stronger mental health:  Mental wellness is no longer in decline, with nurses reporting a one-point increase from 25% in 2021 to 26% in 2023 of good mental health, following years of pervasive burnout and stress due to the pandemic. More nurses than ever are accessing stress-reduction content and an exclusive community of nurses for advice on Incredible Health. They also have access to new permanent roles via the Incredible Health marketplace with the support of talent advocates, reducing stress even more dramatically.

  • Bigger signing bonuses: though compensation remains a hot-button topic for nurses, signing bonuses are on the rise. 48% of offers made on the Incredible Health platform included a sign-on bonus, up 14% over last year, suggesting organizations are leveraging bonuses to bridge salary gaps. The average bonus of $11,767 was, on average, 8% higher than last year.

  • Social media as a source of community: well over half (60%) of nurses believe it is important to use social media as a nurse in today’s healthcare industry, with 77% of respondents saying it’s a source of community and support. A large number – 52% – say they communicate with their health systems via social media. Nurses engaging in Incredible Health’s nurse community in mobile apps and social media communities are at an all-time high.

Incredible Health is free to all nurses and helps them plan and manage their careers. 700,000 US nurses use the platform to find roles, access resources and tools to help ease burnout and stress and receive one-on-one support from talent advocates regarding career decisions. The platform helps health systems quickly hire and retain top, permanent talent while saving at least $2M per year per facility in travel nurses, overtime, and HR costs. One in four nurses in the United States uses Incredible Health and the company partners with 75% of the nation’s top-ranked health systems.

The full report, with more data on travel nurses, education, and AI in nursing, can be found here.

Source: Incredible Health