Nurses feel unprepared for future pandemics, unsupported by employers, survey finds

Forty-one percent of nurses nationwide do not feel prepared for a future variant, surge or pandemic, data from the American Nurses Foundation's survey revealed.

On top of that, of the 12,500 nurses who were surveyed, 53 percent said verbal abuse toward them has increased, but 43 percent say there is not a reporting structure in place to report this, or they are unaware of one existing.

Close to 30 percent of new nurses with fewer than 10 years of experience said their mental well-being is suffering. This is in stark contrast with nurses who have upward of 40 years of experience in their field, of whom only 8 percent felt the same way. 

As the profession continues to face a national shortage, nearly one-third of younger nurses suffering emotional distress because of their jobs could be cause for additional concern related to attracting more individuals to the field.  

"These data sets reveal nurses need much more support than they are getting from their leadership and employers," Kate Judge, executive director of the American Nurses Foundation, said in a Jan. 25 press statement. She noted that the findings of the comprehensive survey "demonstrate that employers must dramatically shift their approach to supporting nurses, taking into account that different demographics of nursing have unique needs." 

Despite growing challenges cited across the profession, the top five things that are helping nurses navigate burnout and emotional stress include: 

  1. Spending time with loved ones
  2. Leisure or entertainment including art, music, reading and movies
  3. Going outdoors or spending time around animals
  4. Regular exercise 
  5. Talking with their colleagues

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