HAWKINSVILLE, Ga. — For the past three years, 13WMAZ has reported on nurse burnout, nurse shortages, and people thinking about leaving the profession. However, a recent survey says nurses are here to stay.
A report from Incredible Health surveyed 3,000 nurses who use their website to find jobs. The survey found 80% of nurses plan to stay in healthcare until they retire. Last year, 54% of nurses say they recommend others going into the nursing field.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many nurses complained of stress and strain due to scarce equipment and mismanagement.
Chief Nursing Officer Haley Coffman at Taylor Regional Hospital says she has no plans to leave, but nurses are still needed.
"In order for us to stay in nursing for as long as people used to, I think that a lot of things are going to have to change in healthcare for that to happen. But I think it's a great field. I think we definitely need more nurse educators to roll out students more often so we can have more help at the bedside," Coffman said.
The U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics projects America will need more than 275,000 new nurses by the year 2030. They say job openings will grow 9% faster than all other occupations through 2026.
Linda Nelson and Jill Hughes are nurses at Taylor Regional. Nelson says the pandemic was devastating and the thought of no longer being a nurse crossed her mind.
"It was emotionally distressing for me because like I said, I had never seen that many people dying," Nelson said.
Nelson has been a nurse for almost 45 years and Hughes has been a nurse for 25 years. Hughes is a surgical unit nurse and when the pandemic began the workload changed but she could see the changes in seasonal nurses like Nelson.
"You know it just brings you down. The whole mood of the whole hospital. Even though we tried to keep things upbeat and we tried to be positive, it was just a negative feeling," Hughes said.
Within the survey, the increase in more nurses staying was due to healthcare system improvements and better nursing education leaders. Coffman says having a clinical nurse on call has helped their staff.
"We support them through various call schedules. We also go out, all the managers as well as myself attend any code situations," Coffman said.
Three years later, Hughes and Nelson don't see themselves leaving and feel that the job is less stressful than it was.
"It feels like the staff's a little bit more comfortable with it and more comfortable taking care of the patients," Hughes said.