Registered nurses hold a far bleaker view of the nations nursing shortage than do doctors, chief nursing officers and chief executive officers, according to newly released results from four surveys. The findings, published in Health Affairs, indicated nurses were significantly more likely to report that healthcare was less safe, less efficient and less effective because of unmet demand for nurses. Nurses were also far more likely to say the shortage delays care, curbs access and reduces patients role in healthcare decisions.
Nearly all hospital CEOs surveyed (94%) said the shortage will drive nurses wages higher; less than half of nurses (48%) agreed. Meanwhile, nine out of 10 nurses surveyed said the nursing shortage will prompt RNs to quit the profession, compared with 79% of CEOs. CNOs and nurses largely agreed the shortage hurt nurses ability to keep patients safe; made it harder to catch medical complications early; and decreased the quality of nurses work life.
The surveys, conducted separately by Harris Interactive in 2004 and 2005, included 400 doctors, 1,697 registered nurses, 222 CNOs and 142 CEOs, and each had a response rate of roughly 50% except among CEOs, where the response rate dropped to 31%. -- by Melanie Evans