Nurses Love Their Jobs, Right?


A recent survey found that 24% of RNs are dissatisfied and looking for new jobs.

On June 16, 2011, AMN® Healthcare (a nurse staffing firm) released the results of its 2011 Survey of Registered Nurses: Job Satisfaction and Career Plans. The surveywas distributed via email to 5,000 randomly-selected nurses from AMN’s database and to 50,317 nurses who subscribed to the online NurseZone and opted-in to receive emailed communications. The survey was distributed in February and March 2011 and responses were accepted through March 11, 2011. Just over a thousand RNs responded (response rate 1.9%) and the mean length of their nursing practice experience was just over 20 years. Most (64%) worked in hospital settings.

The survey queries respondents about job satisfaction. In AMN’s 2010 survey, 15% of respondents indicated that they were dissatisfied with their jobs and planned to seek a new place of employment. However, this year, 24% of respondents indicated that they are dissatisfied with their jobs and are actively looking for, or planning to seek, new jobs. Almost a third of the respondents (32%) plan to leave nursing in the next 1-3 years by retiring or seeking non-nursing jobs, or plan to reduce the volume of clinical work they do by switching to part-time jobs or less demanding roles. This is up from the 26% who said they would take those steps in the 2010 survey. Not surprisingly, 43%of the RN respondentssaid they either would not recommend nursing as a career to young people or were not sure that they would. In the 2010 survey, 36% of respondents felt this way.The complete survey report can be found at

Although the response rate was low, which is typical of emailed surveys, and although people who feel strongly (both negatively and positively) are the people most likely to complete surveys, the data from the AMN survey suggest that not all is well in the nursing world. Nurses are supposed to love their jobs (or at least that’s what the public thinks) and most do; however, there is a large---and growing---number of dissatisfied RNs in the workforce. Changing jobs keeps RNs in the workforce but leaving nursing, as 32% of respondents are contemplating, reduces the RN workforce. Over 32 million more people are expected to be accessing the revamped US healthcare system and the need for RNs will be greater than ever. Much more needs to be done to increase job satisfaction and more importantly, keep RNs in the workforce.

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