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Survey: Over 40 Percent of Nurses to Alter Career Path

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Nearly one-third of registered nurses (RNs) surveyed last month say they will not be working in their current job a year from now and close to half say they plan to alter their career path in the next one to three years in a way that would either take them out of the nursing field entirely or reduce their contribution to direct patient care by working fewer hours or choosing a less demanding role.  Driving part of the decision to potentially change career paths or jobs is the fact that nearly half of those surveyed say their job is affecting their health.


These are among key findings from the 2010 Survey of Registered Nurses:  Job Satisfaction and Career Plans, conducted by AMN Healthcare (NYSE: AHS), the nation's leading provider of comprehensive healthcare staffing and management services.  The survey, which collected data from 1,399 respondents, was conducted during a period of economic recession and in the course of an ongoing national debate over healthcare reform.  The survey reflects how RNs may have altered their career plans due to the recession, how they might respond to an economic recovery, and highlights whether they believe healthcare reform will address the nurse shortage.

On the healthcare reform issue, only 6 percent of the respondents are very confident that reform will provide a mechanism for ensuring an adequate supply of nurses.  This at a time when industry data indicates the nation will face a shortage of 260,000 RNs by 2025, and Bureau of Labor Statistics shortage numbers are even higher.

"Our survey clearly indicates significant job dissatisfaction and that is concerning in terms of quality healthcare delivery," said Ralph Henderson, AMN Healthcare's Nursing and Allied Division President.  "Nurses are at the core of quality care in our nation's delivery system and if we see large numbers of nurses leaving the profession it could negatively impact patient care outcomes."

In fact, the majority of nurses (55 percent) believe that the quality of care nurses provide today has declined compared to five years ago, according to the survey.

The survey notes that 29 percent of nurses plan to take steps in the next one to three years that would reduce their role or take them out of nursing altogether.  An additional 15 percent say they will also make a change in their career path, like becoming a travel nurse or nurse practitioner.  

However, while the survey highlights dissatisfaction with their current job, most nurses are satisfied with their careers overall, yet 59 percent would select nursing as a career if they had it to do it all over, and only 64 percent would recommend nursing as a career to young people.  

"While nursing has made tremendous strides as a profession, in terms of pay and prestige, staffing shortages remain the profession's greatest challenge," notes Henderson.

Of immediate concern, he says, is that 6 percent of nurses permanently employed in a hospital setting indicate they plan to retire in the next one to three years.  This action would reduce the hospital nursing workforce by more than 70,000.  This is of particular concern, since the number of new candidates taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a registered nurse has flattened over the last year, suggesting no growth in the supply of new nurses entering the profession.

"It is critical that we find ways to keep experienced nurses engaged in patient care and attract new nurses to the workforce," Henderson says.  These two things combined will help mitigate the impact of the nation's growing nurse shortage, he observes.

A complete breakdown of AMN's 2010 Survey of Registered Nurses:  Job Satisfaction and Career Plans is available at

About AMN Healthcare

AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. is the nation's leading provider of comprehensive healthcare staffing and management services. As a leading provider of travel nurse and allied staffing services, locum tenens (temporary physician staffing) and physician permanent placement services, AMN Healthcare recruits and places healthcare professionals on assignments of variable lengths and in permanent positions with clients throughout the United States, who range from acute-care hospitals and physician practice groups to other healthcare settings, including rehabilitation centers, dialysis clinics, pharmacies, home health service providers and ambulatory surgery centers. For more information, visit

SOURCE AMN Healthcare Services, Inc.



SOURCE AMN Healthcare Services, Inc.
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