Nursing Professionals Pulse Survey: 2020 Pandemic


Respondents are active nursing professionals in the United States. The 10-question survey about the impact of COVID-19, including whether they were experiencing or anticipating shortages in equipment, was administered exclusively through the NurseGrid Mobile app to active users beginning Monday, April 13th 2020, 7:00 AM PT. Results were collected through Sunday, April 19th 2020, 11:00 PM PT.

Nurses Want to Be Heard

Within one weeks’ time, NurseGrid received an unprecedented 15,000+ responses to the survey asking nurses about their experience with COVID-19.

Respondent Department

The Pervasiveness of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting almost every healthcare facility in the U.S. This study suggests that hospital nurses in America are very likely (89% of respondents) to be working in a facility where COVID-19 is present.

Work at Facilities Treating COVID-19 Patients
Work at Facilities Preparing for COVID-19 Patients

facilities treating COVID-19 patients

The Courage of Nurses

Nurses are displaying tremendous courage, showing up every day and performing while fearful of infecting family and friends. They are also worried about being infected themselves.

Despite their stressful environment, nurses’ number one concern is for the safety of others. Some 79% of respondents selected fear of infecting family and friends as their highest concern.

Roles are Changing

Almost two-thirds of nurses (64%) are experiencing a change in their work assignment due to the pandemic, although 36% report no change. The most common change for nurses is that they are being re-assigned to treat COVID-19 patients. Almost four in ten nurses are being reassigned to treat patients hospitalized with the virus.

At the same time that many nurses are concentrating on COVID-19 patients, other nurses are facing negative financial repercussions. As elective surgeries are being cancelled and attention is focused on treating those with COVID-19, some nurses who may be working outside the realm of COVID-19 are working less or not at all. More than one in five nurses (21%) had their hours reduced, been moved to on-call status, or been furloughed.

Widespread Requests for More N95 Masks

Rampant supply shortages are being mentioned in the states hardest hit by the pandemic; however, except for masks, shortages appear to be less pronounced in much of the rest of the country.

According to nurses throughout the U.S., N95 masks continue to be in short supply (with 84% saying more new masks are needed). Other shortages mentioned by a majority include negative airflow rooms (53%) and shields (52%).

Shortages are most pronounced in states hardest hit by the pandemic (New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Connecticut).^  The majority of nurses from these states report widespread shortages; however, most nurses from states with a lighter incidence of COVID-19 mention only mask shortages.

^ Incidence is based on the rate of reported infections per 100,000 by state using from Data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies (21 April 2020).

Interactive map and survey data available at end of report.

Facilities Treating vs. Preparing to Treat

Nurses at facilities that are currently treating COVID-19 patients are more likely to mention shortage concerns than nurses at facilities that are preparing to treat COVID-19 patients. Both groups agree that new N95 masks are the biggest need.

My facility is treating or preparing to treat COVID-19 patients.

A Novel Virus has Created a Level Playing Field

Nurse Confidence

Eight in ten nurses (80%) report they are “very” to “somewhat” confident treating COVID-19 patients.

Seasoned nurses are no more confident than younger nurses. The correlation between confidence and years of nursing experience is weak (Pearson r = 0.138 and years of experience only accounted for 1.9% of the variability in confidence scores). This indicates nurse experience plays little role in knowing how to treat patients who contract the virus.

Nurses across all experience levels indicate they are worried by a lack of PPE and a fear of infecting family and friends. They are also being asked to care for patients with a virus for which no one has prior experience or treatment options. As PPE becomes more widely available and effective drugs and vaccines are approved, we expect nurse confidence scores will increase as well.

Nurses Rely on Employer-sponsored Training

Overwhelmingly, nurses are relying on their employers for COVID-19 information. Employer-provided training was mentioned nearly two-to-one over any other information resource (82%). For supplemental information, nurses are relying on colleagues/friends (43%), government websites (38%), and nursing associations (29%).

Nurses from All Experience Levels are Represented

Survey respondents included nurses across the full gamut of experience. Some 12% of the respondents were nurses with less than one year of experience, while 15% were nurses with more than 10 years’ experience.
Note: In total, 15,092 nurses responded to the NurseGrid survey; however, the exact number of respondents will vary by question. No incentive was provided to respondents for completing the survey.

** To view interactive report data & visualizations, please view page on Desktop. **

5 Insights for Healthcare Leaders
A reaction to the survey results written by Robin L. Rose, MBA, VP, Healthcare Resource Group, HealthStream
A Nurse's Courage
A reaction to the survey results written by Zach Smith, BSN, RN, Strategic Advisor and Founding Member, NurseGrid
Press Inquiries

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Finn Partners
1 (615) 610-0308

Supported By:

Microsoft Power BI

SONSIEL Share PPE Request Program:

Based on the survey results and a continued need for PPE, NurseGrid is donating $10,000 to the SONSIEL SHARE program.