Nov 22, 2022 - News

NC nurses are burning out an 'unsustainable' rate, survey shows

Illustration of a health professional carrying a cardboard box packed with office items.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

More than a quarter of North Carolina nurses surveyed by the state's nursing association said they've been the victim of workplace violence, including by a patient or patient's family.

  • That violence, which plays out in NICUs and hospital halls across the state, is just one of a host of challenges fueling a burnout crisis among nurses here that "shows no signs of letting up," the North Carolina Nurses Association said in a release.

Why it matters: The results highlight the stress worker shortages, violence against nurses and COVID's lingering presence on the state's frontline health care providers.

  • "Warning signs have been flashing for a while and the longer it takes to address these systemic issues, the harder it will be to pull the profession out of this nosedive," said North Carolina Nursing Association President Meka Douthit Ingram.

The big picture: The results of the survey, which was not scientific, mirror national trends in burnout among nurses, the association said.

Details: The association surveyed its members in late October and early November and received a response from 315 nurses.

  • 80% of members said there was a worker shortage at the facility they work in.
  • Nearly half said they personally witnessed violence in their workplace in the last two years.

The good news: The results showed slightly less burnout among nurses compared to a February survey.

  • Asked about how burned out they are on a scale of 1-10, the average response among the nurses was 5.2, down 5.6 in a February survey.
  • But one third of nurses who responded said they were an 8, 9 or 10.

"I'm ready to find a new career," one nurse said.

Between the lines: The survey found COVID is no longer having as significant of an impact on nurses as it has in the past two years.

Yes, but: "That does not, however, mean the pandemic is over," the association said.


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