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A Pandemic's Toll on Nurses: January 2021

The objective of The Pandemic’s Toll on Nurses, the 3rd in our survey series, was to revisit our active users and trend changes in opinion since the two previous surveys. When this survey was conducted in late 2020, healthcare organizations were absorbing the brunt of a post-Thanksgiving surge in COVID-19 that led to hospitals reaching the limitations of their patient capacity and staffing resources.

The survey had over 10,000 respondents and was administered by NurseGrid™ in collaboration with the Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN).

Key Takeaways

As the pandemic progressed, concerns among nurses shifted.

In April 2020, early concerns centered around shortages of PPE and ventilators. As COVID-19 spread throughout the US, concerns shifted to the shortage of nurses and an inadequate number of ICU beds.

The mental and physical breaking point for nurses has intensified over the last three months.

Where 25% noted they were suffering from high levels of burnout in April, an alarming 61% have reported high burnout levels in December.

The fallout from these traumatic conditions may impair the healthcare industry beyond 2021.

More than 20% of nurses report they are leaving bedside care, or the profession entirely, by 2021—an exodus the industry can ill-afford as the pre-pandemic nurse shortage looms.

Support for COVID-19 vaccines appears low.

Just over one-fourth of nurses say they are highly comfortable taking the vaccine, though about half are convinced of positive ramifications from the vaccines for their communities and work conditions.

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