CNO Survey on Nurse Supply and Demand: Worsening Shortages and Growing Consequences

CNO Survey on Nurse Supply and Demand: Worsening Shortages and Growing Consequences

Healthcare organizations face growing challenges in finding the nurses they need, according to nurse leaders, most of whom say that these problems will get worse in the next five years. Healthcare organizations may not be prepared for this worsening supply and demand imbalance, considering that their human resources expenditures usually tally approximately 1% of operating budgets (Bloomberg BNA, 2016) and that talent acquisition is only a fraction of that amount.

A common viewpoint within the healthcare industry, derived from daily experiences on nursing units and in HR departments and backed up by research (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2017), is that nurse shortages exist right now and are getting worse. Worsening Shortages and Growing Consequences: CNO Survey on Nurse Supply and Demand measures the views of Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) and other nurse leaders on the magnitude and impact of the shortages.

The survey results show that most CNOs say nurse shortages exist at their healthcare organizations now, and that they expect the shortages will get worse over the next five years. Those findings are bolstered by a recent survey of registered nurses by AMN Healthcare. It found that a growing percentage of nurses believe the nurse shortage has gotten worse in the past five years, while a shrinking percentage say the shortage has not gotten worse (AMN Healthcare, 2017). CNOs represent the forward edge of clinical leadership, providing an authoritative and reliable point of view about patient volume and acuity level and the supply-and-demand pressures on the nurse workforce.

CNOs are directly involved in long- and short-range planning and administration of nurse staffing. They also recognize the true complexity of demand, including the need for the right mix of specialty and experienced nurses, as well as the need for effectively blending staff, agency, and early career nurses on the unit. In addition to CNOs, nurse leaders surveyed for this report also include the titles of Chief Nurse Executive, Director of Nursing, Vice President of Nursing, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Clinical Nurse Leader, and Clinical Administrator.

— Marcia Faller, PhD, RN Chief Clinical Officer, AMN Healthcare

 

Summary

A large majority of CNOs say the nurse shortage at their organizations is moderate to severe, and most say this problem will become increasingly worse over the next five years. CNOs see shortages negatively affecting some of the most important aspects of healthcare: patient satisfaction, quality, care, and staff morale. Recruitment of adequate numbers of quality nurses is facing significant roadblocks that may not be overcome by internal solutions alone at many healthcare organizations.

Nurse Shortage Worsens

• More than 70% of CNOs say the nurse shortage at their organization is moderate, significant or severe. Of those, 35% say it’s significant or severe.

• CNOs say their nurse shortage will get worse in next five years: 28% say the shortage will get worse in one year; 43% say it will get worse in two years; and 61% say it will get worse in five years.

• The percentage of CNOs who say there will be no change in the nurse shortage drops from 61% in one year to 17% in five years. Consequences for Healthcare Organizations • More than 80% of CNOs say that the difficulty in recruiting nurses at their organization is moderate, significant, or severe. Of those, 41% say it’s significant or severe.

• CNOs said the two greatest challenges to nurse recruitment are the lack of access to high-quality talent (32%) and the location of their organization (37%). Neither of these factors can be changed from within the organization itself.

• 34% of CNOs say the nurse shortage at their organization has a considerable or great negative impact on patient care.

• 41% of CNOs say the nurse shortage has a considerable or great negative impact on patient satisfaction.

• 61% of CNOs say the nurse shortage has a considerable or great negative impact on nurse morale.

Methodology

The survey was administered in July 2017 to 11,639 nurse executives with a 2% response rate. The survey was sent from AMN Healthcare and The Center for the Advancement of Healthcare Professionals in collaboration with B.E. Smith.

To learn more and review the whole study, click here.