Nurse burnout remains high: 9 numbers to know

A report released Nov. 6 by market research firm McKinsey & Co. provides insights into the nursing workforce and nurses' mental health and well-being. 

The report features survey data gathered in partnership with the American Nursing Foundation. The data is based on a survey of 7,419 nurses in the U.S. in April and May regarding their experiences, needs, preferences and career intentions. All questions were optional for survey respondents. 

The overall consensus: Symptoms of burnout and mental health challenges among nurses remain high, despite nursing turnover beginning to decline from its 2021 high point. 

The report outlines the current state of the nursing workforce, and provides actions healthcare organizations and other stakeholders can take to address mental health and well-being. Here are 10 numbers that quantify nurse burnout, based on survey findings:

  • More than half (56%) of respondents reported experiencing symptoms of burnout, such as emotional exhaustion.
  • The percentage of nurses reporting burnout is relatively high among respondents with up to 20 years of experience.
  • Approximately two-thirds of respondents indicated they were not currently receiving mental health support.
  • Reasons cited by respondents for not seeking professional mental health included a lack of time (29%), feeling they should be able to handle their own mental health (23%) and cost or a lack of financial resources (10%).
  • Fifty-six percent of respondents said they believe there is stigma attached to mental health challenges.
  • About 20% of respondents indicated they had changed positions in the past six months. 
  • About 39% of respondents indicated they were likely to leave their current position in the next six months.

Respondents who indicated they were likely to leave their positions cited not feeling valued by their organizations, insufficient staffing and inadequate compensation.

"Stakeholders will need to take steps to support nurses' mental health and well-being. They will also need to address the underlying structural issues — for example, workload and administrative burden — that affect the nursing profession and that have been consistently acknowledged as root causes of burnout," the report authors wrote. "Simultaneously reducing workload demands and increasing resources available to meet those demands will be critical."

Read the full report here.

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