Study: Potential Threats to Stability, Sustainability for US Nursing Workforce

The purpose of the study was to get a better glimpse of the perspective of nurses working in the United States on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave.

A new analysis found that the organizational performance during the COVID-19 pandemic may be reflected in the nursing workforce retention as the risk for workforce attrition appears high, according to a study published in International Journal of Nursing Studies.

The purpose of the study was to get a better glimpse of the perspective of nurses working in the United States on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave. The impact of the pandemic on nurses’ roles, professional relationships, and the organizational cultures of their employers were a focus as well.

The research team conducted an online qualitative study through social networking recruitment to find frontline nurses across the country to participate. The participants provided long form, text-based responses to 4 questions designed to capture their experiences between the first COVID-19 wave between May and July 2020.

In total, 318 nurses participated from 29 out of 50 states, with 242 nurses completing all of the questions. The findings from the study suggest that the place of work mattered significantly in terms of the frontline working experience. Role changes, risk assumption, interprofessional teamwork experiences, and likelihood to leave their jobs or the profession altogether were major influences.

Although it was known that the working conditions varied during the pandemic, nurses shared that they experienced high levels of occupational risk to their health and were observed to be seen as threats to patient outcomes.

The data emphasized that nurses showed several signals about the potential impact to the stability and sustainability of the United States nursing workforce that are now manifesting, including a massive loss to the frontline of the US nursing workforce stemming from high rates of burnout.

REFERENCE

A. Squires, M. Clark-Cutaia, M. Henderson, et al., "Should I stay or should I go?” Nurses’ Perspectives AboutWorking During the Covid-19 Pandemic in the United States: A Summative Content Analysis Combined with Topic Modelling (2022), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2022.104256

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