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21 Telling Stats About the Future of Nursing

Despite expanding workloads and fear of violence and harassment on the job, 84 percent of nurses would pick the same career again and again.

Despite expanding workloads and a constant fear of violence and harassment on the job, most nurses would pick the same career again and again. That’s one of the salient findings of the latest annual “Nursing Trends and Salary Survey” from American Nurse Today. This year, the professional journal gathered data from 5,262 RNs and NPs about their compensation, professional challenges, and more. The researchers were quick to note that 84% of respondents said they’d choose to become a nurse again — that’s incredibly heartwarming, considering only 40% of Americans overall say they’d follow the same career. However, the survey also found that 60% of nurses feel their workload has increased, up from 58% last year.

Verbal and Physical Harassment

This year’s report dug into the issue of violence against nurses more so than in previous years. It found 59% of respondents experienced verbal assault by a patient within two years and 43% from a visitor. In addition, more than half of those harassed were unsatisfied with their employer’s response to the incident, often citing that healthcare organizations care more about patient satisfaction than employee safety.

On the other hand, physical violence occurs at much lower rates, but it appears to be increasing. Some 23% of respondents reported experiencing physical assault by a patient, up from 20% last year. In addition, less than half of those who reported felt satisfied with the handling of the incident. The good news? Some 76% of respondents took de-escalation training, and the majority found it helpful.

Nurse Bullying—Up or Down?

Sadly, rates of nurse bullying have stayed relatively stagnant over the past few years. In 2018 and 2019, respectively, 36 and 35% of respondents said a fellow healthcare provider had verbally assaulted them. Even more nurses, 46%, say they’ve witnessed bullying.


Roughly 9% of this year’s respondents said they’d experienced sexual harassment on the job, compared to 10.5% last year; 70% of those did not report the incident. The fear of termination played a role in keeping the event quiet. One respondent wrote, “I reported a physician for sexual harassment, and I was terminated after 21 years.”

Interestingly, recent research published in the Journal of Women’s Health found much higher rates of sexual harassment among health professionals, men, and women. For example, 82.5% of women and 65.1% of men working at an academic medical center had reported at least one incident of sexual harassment by staff, students, and faculty during the previous year. Similarly, 64.4% of women and 44.1% of men who worked with patients reported experiencing sexual harassment from patients or their families within the prior year. Researchers also found a negative association between sexual harassment and mental health, job satisfaction, and a sense of safety at work.


Nurses are more in-demand than ever, and the rate of salary increases among this year’s respondents reflects this — 65% of managers and 60% of clinical nurses said they’d received a raise within the past 12 months. There’s still plenty of room for improvement, however. For example, only 60% of nurses reported feeling satisfied with their pay.

In addition, most respondents said their job provides benefits, with 86% receiving sick and vacation time, 82% with health insurance, 77% with dental, and 76% earning retirement contributions. However, less than 60% receive bonuses, disability insurance, professional liability insurance, and reimbursement for tuition and certification, and only 5% received no benefits.

Job Satisfaction

The most telling stat from this survey section is that more than three-quarters of respondents reported they were currently looking for a new job or planning to leave within the next three months. Somewhat contradictorily, though, 42% of respondents said they plan to stay with their current employer for five years or more. Only 10% of respondents said they plan to retire within two years.

And that’s good news, considering the struggle nurse managers said they have with hiring. More than half of respondents, 54%, said they’d seen an increase in job openings in the past year, up from 52% in 2018. However, this year, 56% said turnover has worsened, and 64% said recruiting nurses is more difficult.

Respondents generally reported positive relationships at work, contributing to overall job satisfaction. For example, nine out of ten nurse managers said they were satisfied with their relationships with peers but wanted more support from management.

Similarly, nine out of ten clinical nurses were satisfied with their relationships with peers, but fewer were satisfied with support from immediate supervisors and management. Eight out of ten were happy with their job but less satisfied with their pay.

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