Research Reveals Real Causes of Nursing Crisis

By 2025, the U.S. health care system could suffer a shortfall of up to 450,000 nurses, or 20% fewer than the nursing workforce required for patient care. A recent article has revealed the real issues driving the shortage in the U.S. And surprisingly, it’s not just workload and compensation.

“Among nurses who quit, toxic culture is more than twice as predictive of their overall satisfaction than compensation or workload,” said coauthor Donald Sull, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. There seems to be a disconnect between the front lines and leadership, based on comments mined from 150,000 Glassdoor reviews. 

Authors Charles Sull and Donald Sull created the Nursing Satisfaction Index, which compares how 200 large health care employers rank in the eyes of nurses. It allows users to see which employers are most and least toxic, which have the best and worst leadership, and other key factors to nurses’ satisfaction. 

Key findings:

  • Toxic culture is the most significant factor in predicting how nurses rate their employers. When comparing factors before and after the pandemic, toxic culture had the highest relative gain in predicting workplace satisfaction.
  • Nurses who work for staffing agencies are more satisfied overall. Staffing agencies do a better job at communication and addressing concerns.
  • Nurses who work in full time staff positions rate hospitals and healthcare systems higher than staffing agencies on learning and development, benefits and colleagues.

In sum, they key to improving job satisfaction for nurses is proper leadership, including collecting and listening to feedback and understanding what’s happening on the frontlines.

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