It’s no secret that the last few years have been tough for nurses. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to this past winter’s fears of a “tri-demic,” nurses have had to deal with stress and burnout, all while tasked with keeping their communities safe and healthy. It’s a big job for a profession that is the backbone of our US healthcare system.
Today, we unveil the findings of Incredible Health’s 2023 State of US Nursing Report, our 4th annual report. We can finally share some good news despite ongoing concerns: Today, 80% of nurses plan to stay in the industry until retirement, up from 55% in 2022. Still, a majority (84%) do not think the nursing industry is improving fast enough when it comes to addressing understaffing, burnout, and pay.
We analyzed our own proprietary hiring data of over 700,000 nurses (300,000 more nurses than last year) and surveyed over 3,000 nurses who utilize the Incredible Health platform nationwide. The findings highlight areas where nurses have seen specific improvements and areas health systems, nursing education leaders, and Incredible Health could provide more support.
The big picture
The industry is moving in the right direction. Since our last report, we have seen key improvements across key areas.
More nurses plan on staying in the industry until retirement. Last year only 55% of nurses reported planning on staying in the industry until retirement. Today, that number has increased to 80%. In addition:
- Most nurses (54%) surveyed would recommend nursing as a career.
- 10% fewer nurses plan to leave their roles within the year, indicating an overall increase in job satisfaction.
This data highlights a crucial trend toward more nurses remaining in the field at a time when the nursing shortage is at a critical level in the United States.
Mental health has stabilized. While our previous reports have flagged worsening mental health concerns of US nurses, new data suggests nurse mental health is no longer in decline. There was a one-point increase in nurses reporting good mental health – from 25% in 2022 to 26% in 2023.
Today, one in four nurses use Incredible Health and have access to our Nurse Wellness Toolkit, which includes stress reduction content and a community built exclusively for nurses to get the support and advice they need.
While compensation is only one factor nurses consider when it comes to job satisfaction, it remains a key consideration when nurses are evaluating their next career steps.
Signing bonuses are on the rise. Nearly half (48%) of offers made on the Incredible Health platform included a sign-on bonus, up 14% over last year, pointing to health systems leveraging bonuses to bridge salary gaps.
- The average bonus was $11,767, 8% higher than last year.
- Hospitals in South Carolina had the highest average payout for sign-on bonuses at an average of $17,763.
California continues to report the highest overall salaries in the nation, though only 40% of offers included a sign-on bonus, with a lower average amount ($10,931) than other states.
Curious how your pay stacks up to the market? Get a free personalized salary estimate for your location and nursing credentials.
Technology and social media trends
Every year brings new technology and increased usage of social media throughout the US economy. For nurses in the healthcare industry, the impact of these trends is mixed.
Nurses use social media for community and support. Well over half (60%) of nurses believe it is important to use social media as a nurse in today’s healthcare industry, with 77% of respondents saying it’s a source of community and support. Additionally:
- 52% of nurses said they communicate with their health systems via social media.
- The number of nurses engaging in Incredible Health’s mobile apps and social media communities is at an all-time high, pointing to the importance of these products.
We continue to invest in Incredible Health’s nurse community, accessible for free in our iOS and Android apps, and our rapidly growing social media nurse communities.
AI and virtual nursing are trending topics, yet most nurses still haven’t experienced the impact of the technologies firsthand.
- Nurse sentiment toward AI in healthcare is split as half think it will make a positive impact on the industry, and half disagree.
- 63% of nurses feel AI used within the industry could potentially create an imbalance between older and younger generations in the healthcare system.
- Just one-fourth (25%) of nurses reported their health systems are using virtual nursing.
Looking ahead: areas for improvement
Many recent improvements in key areas of the nursing industry are likely due to market forces, hospital executive attention, and increased media attention over the course of the past year. However, there are several identifiable areas where additional progress would significantly impact the overall nursing experience and make the field more attractive to Americans considering pursuing the profession.
A majority of nurses (84%) do not think the healthcare industry is improving fast enough when it comes to addressing understaffing, burnout, and pay – so our time to act is now.
Staffing shortages remain a top issue. The vast majority (93%) of nurses reported that staffing shortages have worsened over the last year. It’s no surprise that, as a result, 73% point to inadequate staffing as their top concern in the industry, and 55% report being dissatisfied with the current staffing in their own facilities.
Burnout closely follows staffing as a main concern for nurses in the field and is the top reason nurses would leave the industry ahead of retirement.
Nurses are frustrated by compensation gaps. One-third (33%) of nurses reported feeling fairly compensated in their roles. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of nurses shared that they have considered shifting from a permanent role to a travel nurse role primarily for a pay increase.
Nurses are not immune to the economic climate. 84% reported increased stress at work due to the state of the broader economy, and 69% of nurses reported being impacted by the economic downturn. Those surveyed pointed to layoffs, delayed retirement, and a need to pick up additional jobs to make ends meet as ways they were impacted.
Nurses value clear communication from their employers, and 59% of nurses reported feeling dissatisfied with how their organization addressed recent economic concerns with staff.
Incredible Health continues to work closely with health systems to address these specific areas. In fact, 75% of the nation’s top-ranked health systems trust us with finding their most important resource: top, permanent nursing talent to deliver high-quality care. Sharing best practices, including stronger operational excellence in hiring, such as direct hiring manager scheduling and same-day job offers, has helped increase hiring of permanent staff.
Incredible Health also provides analytics to benchmark speed, conversion rates, brand, and salaries of hospitals with their local and national competitors. Hospitals using Incredible Health hire nurses in fewer than 20 days–decreasing the stress on nurses with understaffing concerns.
An Incredible opportunity for progress
While there is room for improvement across the field, we have seen noticeable signs of progress in key areas. Incredible Health is proud of the work we do to help healthcare workers live better lives and ensure health systems remain properly staffed to provide excellent care to patients.
If your hospital is looking for a better way to hire and retain nurses, click here. Incredible Health’s award-winning marketplace technology helps your talent acquisition team hire permanent, experienced nurses in 20 days or less, save at least $2 million per year per facility, and improve nurse retention.
If you’re a nurse looking to take control of your career and access Incredible Health’s suite of services for free, click here.
You can download the visual report that includes more data from the State of US Nursing Report here.
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We analyzed hiring data from more than 700,000 Incredible Health nurse profiles in March 2023. We also surveyed more than 3,000 registered nurses in the United States in March 2023.