As nurse leaders face challenging work conditions, 31% plan to leave their jobs in the next year, according to a survey released today by AMN Healthcare Services Inc. (NYSE: AMN).

The survey found that the key factor driving nurse leader turnover is burnout, with 72% of nurse leaders indicating they sometimes, often, or always experience burnout.

The top challenges facing nurse leaders include nurse staff recruitment and retention, staff burnout, and labor shortages.

When asked to identify the methods used to improve nurse hiring and scheduling at their facilities, 58% of nurse leaders said they use internal nurse float pools, which allow permanent staff nurses to work on temporary assignments. Additionally, 48% use virtual interview platforms, 47% use online tools for onboarding, and 34% use scheduling apps.

Furthermore, recognition programs, favorable nurse-to-patient ratios, effective onboarding and orientation were identified as the top strategies to retain nurses by healthcare facilities.

“Like millions of front-line nurses, nurse leaders are facing challenging work conditions that can exacerbate stress and fuel turnover,” Christine Mackey-Ross, president of AMN Healthcare Leadership Solutions division, said in a press release. “The job satisfaction and personal well-being of nurse leaders therefore should be a primary concern of any healthcare facility seeking to maintain the continuity and effectiveness of its nurse staff.”

Other findings in the report:

  • Few nurse leaders indicated they have the means to address workforce challenges, with only 34% saying they have “a great deal” or “a lot” of the financial resources they need to address nurse workforce needs, while 33% said they have “a great deal” or “a lot” of the technical resources they need.
  • On average, 69% of hospital nurse staff comprises permanent, full-time nurses, 19% part-time nurses, and 12% contingent nurses, such as float pool nurses, travel nurses, local nurses, and per diem nurses.
  • On using travel and other contingent nurses, 67% of nurse leaders reported using contingent nurses to address turnover among the permanent nurse staff. An additional 60% of nurse leaders said they use contingent nurses to meet hospital quality/outcomes goals, while 54% said they use contingent nurses to scale up operations.
  • 81% of nurse leaders said they are moderately to extremely involved in their hospital’s strategic mission, 80% are moderately to extremely involved in their hospital’s financial management, and 80% are moderately to extremely involved in their hospital’s clinical and patient protocols. Additionally, nurse leaders are expanding their roles in several endeavors outside of traditional clinical care.

“Today’s flexible nurse staffing model is based on the strategic use of various types of nurses,” Mackey-Ross said. “It is important for hospitals to forecast and plan for how best to use a mix of permanent, part-time and contingent staff.”

AMN’s survey includes responses from 186 US chief nursing officers, chief nursing executives, and nurse directors serving in hospitals. It was conducted from Aug. 23, 2023, to Oct. 2, 2023.

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