66% of nurses say pandemic has made them consider leaving profession

Nurses are leaving hospital settings or the profession amid extreme and sustained demands of caring for unvaccinated, hospitalized patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new American Association of Critical-Care Nurses survey. 

The survey was conducted in late August among more than 6,000 acute and critical care nurses. It found:

  • 92 percent of respondents said they believe the pandemic has depleted nurses at their hospitals, and because of this, their careers will be shorter than they planned
  • 66 percent of respondents said they feel their pandemic experiences have led them to consider leaving nursing
  • 76 percent of respondents said unvaccinated people threaten nurses' physical and mental well-being
  • 67 percent of respondents said they believe taking care of COVID-19 patients puts their own families' health at risk

In light of the number of nurses leaving their jobs, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses warned that the future of healthcare could be at risk. 

"If the healthcare system falters because we do not have enough nurses, lives will continue to be lost long after the pandemic is over. Nurses and other professionals are leaving their jobs and cannot be expected to return after the sustained and extreme demands of the last 18 months," the association said online. 

"More than 90 percent of patients hospitalized for COVID are not vaccinated," the association continued. "In regions with low vaccination rates, our healthcare system is unable to care for both people with COVID and those with cancer, heart attacks, strokes and other health emergencies. This will only worsen until more people are vaccinated against COVID."

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