MedPro Blog

AAIHR Survey Reveals Majority of Nurses Considering Leaving Profession

A recent survey paints a troubling picture of the current state of nursing and healthcare in the United States. According to the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment’s (AAIHR) annual survey, a majority of foreign-educated nurses will consider resigning if ongoing staffing shortages are not addressed. The results support rising concerns over nurse well-being, quality of patient care, and workforce stability.

 

Long-Term Consequences

AAIHR surveyed 500 foreign-educated registered nurses across the United States between December 1 – 31, 2022. Among the many concerning results was that the majority of those surveyed worked at a hospital with a nurse staffing shortage, and the shortage had worsened over the past year. “Even before the first coronavirus wave in 2020, hospital bedsides were understaffed,” said AAIHR President and MedPro International Executive Vice President International Operations Patty Jeffrey. “Now, 75 percent of practicing registered nurses say they might leave medicine long-term if the shortage isn’t finally corrected. That’s going to mean more closed beds for everyone from expecting mothers to dialysis patients, and the problem will only compound.”

Last fall, a drastic increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases among children in the United States overwhelmed hospital staff, filling up 80 percent of pediatric beds nationally. Staffing shortages didn’t start with COVID. Aging baby boomers and expanded healthcare through the Affordable Care Act increased the number of people seeking care. But the impact of several years of exhaustion and frustration is taking a toll.

“While most industries have rebounded from the initial interruption and economic shock of the pandemic, nursing will bear the scars of the last three years for decades to come—and at great cost for ordinary patients. Only 28 percent of responding nurses say their hospital has the necessary staff to provide adequate care to patients,” said Jeffrey. “It’s imperative we take action now.”

 

Key findings from the survey included:
  • More than 90 percent said their hospital was “experiencing a nurse staffing shortage,” up from 59 percent in a 2020 AAIHR survey.
  • More than 60 percent said the staffing shortage had “worsened” in the past year.
  • 91 percent said the staffing shortage was a “moderate or serious problem.”
  • 75 percent said their long-term commitment to the profession would be “negatively” impacted if staffing shortages continue.
  • Over 39 percent of nurses said their hospital had closed beds due to a lack of staff.

 

A majority of nurses reported feeling “exhausted” and experiencing “burnout” at work, and more than 40 percent reported feeling “undervalued,” “fearful,” and “sad.” But, the staffing shortage isn’t just affecting nurses on the job. A majority said workplace stress is negatively affecting their personal life as well.

According to the AAIHR, foreign-educated registered nurses make up approximately 5.4 percent of the total number of registered nurses in the U.S