The state of nurse retention: 5 things to know

Fewer nurses plan to leave their jobs, according to a recent survey, but other studies find more areas where hospitals can improve.

A 2024 report from AMN Healthcare found 35% of nurses plan to change jobs, compared to 85% last year. Another study found the nursing workforce is 6% larger in 2023 than in 2019, and the U.S. Census Bureau found of the 5% of nurses who left during the COVID-19 pandemic, 43% plan to return.

Here are more five things to know about the state of nurse retention and workforce needs:

  1. Two recent studies found that support at work and relationships with colleagues and managers are strong predictors of nurses staying in their jobs. Nurses who felt supported by colleagues were nearly twice as likely to want to stay in their job than those who did not feel supported. A Johns Hopkins study also found 63% of surveyed nurses commented on the importance of having strong relationship dynamics between colleagues, leadership and patients.

  2. Nurses report moderately high resilience (4.23 on a 5-point scale) and a strong sense of purpose and ability to find meaning in work (4.56), but have lower decompression scores (3.90).

  3. Nurses' resilience scores depend on the generation. Baby boomers have an average score of 4.32; Gen X: 4.25; Millennials: 4.18; and Gen Z: 4.13.

  4. Nearly 30% of nurses said their organization does not consistently show them respect.

  5. The top three elements of the workplace that were most important to nurses were better pay rates (75%), more nurses per patient (68%) and better scheduling/hours (58%).

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