On February 5th, 2018, I published a blog post with the first of a series of two posts focused on the data from a late 2017 American Nurses Association survey of 6,000 nurses from around the United States. On February 9th, episode 146 of The Nurse Keith Show explored that first data set more fully. My February 12th blog post dove back into the second set of ANA survey data, and this current episode — #147 — completes the series.
Here are some excerpted highlights from the February 12th blog post:
When questioned about their self-care habits at work and home, a full 73% of nurse respondents reported improving their eating habits, while 66% had increased their levels of physical activity.
While 56% had reduced stress, 41% had improved sleep, and 35% were taking more breaks. Over 30% of the nurses reported getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night (likely the ones without babies in the home!). Only 15% stated that they were regularly able to sleep for 8 hours, but this may also likely be true for many non-nurses in our sleep-deprived society.
Incivility and Bullying
Bullying, defined for the purposes of the survey as “repeated, unwanted harmful actions intended to humiliate, offend, and cause distress in the recipient”, was reported to have been frequently experienced by 10.17% of respondents. 24.5% reported never having experienced bullying at all, and 33.47% had experienced it “very rarely”. A 4.32% cohort of respondents had “very often” been on the receiving end of bullying.
Other data of interest:
- 17% rated their organization as completely supportive
- 36% rated their organization as somewhat supportive
- 10% rated their organization as not supportive at all
62% of the nurses stated that their workload had increased in the last year.
Major challenges at work included:
- Turnover and recruitment of staff
- Communication with colleagues
- Fears of nurse shortages
- Fears of being asked to do more in less time
- Concerns about spending less and less time with patients
What Direction Next?
As we can see from these survey results, incivility and bullying are real-life issues impacting countless nurses. While nursing experts like Dr. Renee Thompson are combating bullying head on, healthcare organizations need to do more to curb and eradicate lateral and vertical violence from within. There’s simply no place for such aberrant behavior in our workplaces.
While I am not at all surprised by the data regarding the relative supportiveness of organizations in terms of creating healthy workplaces, knowing that so many nurses are working in suboptimal environments is distressing. With high overall attrition rates of new nurses from the profession coupled with an aging nursing population moving towards retirement, healthy workplaces are a key component of recruitment and retention of high-quality staff who feel a sense of loyalty and being cared for by their employers.
An encouraging part of this portion of the survey is the fact that a large percentage of the nurse respondents are upping their game when it comes to self-care and personal wellness.
I would have liked to have seen a breakdown of the survey participants in terms of work setting. My relatively safe assumption is that the vast majority of respondents were hospital nurses, and since only about 60% of all nurses in the U.S. actually work in hospitals, the survey may likely be skewed in that direction. I would like to see a representative sample of the entire profession that includes nurses in home health, hospice, long term care, case management, research, tele-health, and other non-acute career settings. It would be extremely interesting to see the differences in nurses’ perceptions based on their area of specialty and type of employer/organization.
Overall, it is our collective and individual responsibility to improve our workplaces, demand what we need from our employers, and create the future that we desire and deserve. Thank you to the ANA for elucidating important data that will help us get to where we want to go.
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Keith Carlson is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses.
Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com.