Nurses’ Survey Results Show ‘Dangerous’ Stress Levels

Editor’s note: This post is brought to you by Vickie Milazzo Institute.

Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD

Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD

A huge thank-you to everyone who took our survey “Are You Way Too Stressed Out?”

A remarkable 3,312 of you took the time out of your busy day to complete the survey, and this high response rate highlights the seriousness of this issue to the nursing world.

Download the Report or click the image below to view the SlideShare.

View the SlideShare

Click image to view the SlideShare.

The results of the survey reveal the dangerous levels of stress that RNs pervasively live with, both at work and in their personal lives. Lack of sleep, 12-hour shifts, night shifts, poor diets, unrealistic workloads, lack of authority at the workplace and unsupportive management are just some of the key contributors to the stress being experienced by RNs today.

RNs are neglected by a system that overworks, under-appreciates and marginalizes the experience of individuals who are the most connected to patients.

Respondents had the opportunity to answer the question, “What are some of the things that stress you out the most?” Many of you were brutally candid, and I cringe at what you continue to put up with on a daily basis. These five responses are representative of the thousands received.

  • “People who have never done your job telling you how to do it. People who have lost sight of the patient — the focus is the $$.”
  • “Not having the authority to take care of the things that need to be done, but being responsible for it.”
  • “Long hours (12-hr shifts), working nights, poor pay, poor benefits that are dependent on maintaining hours to prevent losing the benefits, lack of PTO to cover sick/vacation days.”
  • “Overwork with no relief in sight, working for $3 to $5 dollars less than average city wages …”
  • “Corporate chaos, lack of support, unrealistic expectations, being put in possible license jeopardy due to corporate greed and mismanagement.”

    Click to read and download “Are You Way Too Stressed Out?” Survey Results.

    Click to read and download “Are You Way Too Stressed Out?” Survey Results.

The system is broken! The very people treating patients are sick and in need of healing themselves. This is crazy.

The stress placed on RNs is eventually going to cause many of them to quit. Our nursing system is already grappling with an aging workforce and an aging general population. While the nation will need an increased number of RNs, we’re likely hurtling toward a nursing shortage. Stress leads to mistakes and errors, and hospital errors are already the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Put it all together, and we may be headed for a national healthcare crisis.

This is a report you will not want to miss. Download the full PDF report below and click through the SlideShare presentation, and share your own experiences with stress as an RN in the Reply section below. I want to hear from you!

Download the Report

View the SlideShare

P.S. Please share the report and SlideShare with every RN you know.

P.P.S. Reply below and share whether you’re surprised by the results.

Welcome to — leading the conversation about nurses’ professional lives, news and ideas. Follow our blog and be where the nurses are.

8 Responses to Nurses’ Survey Results Show ‘Dangerous’ Stress Levels

  1. bveltrop72 says:

    Reblogged this on Nurse's Links to Resources and commented:
    Over stressed, over worked, and now I’m injured and can no longer work at the bedside.

  2. Karen says:

    After 35 years in the profession, the stress level for me became so pervasive that I have changed careers in my 50s and feel much better overall. Unfortunate that this had to happen but it was the only thing I could do for my own health and well being.

  3. Terri says:

    I am not surprised at all by the results. I quit my last job with no notice due to extreme stress from the Dr and work load placed on myself and a second nurse for 6 months, reported daily to supervisor and CEO, with no resolution. It’s like one of the responsibility of a nurse now, is to deal with unexceptable amounts of stress! I am contemplating a career change right now due to the unfair conditions of being a nurse!! Sad

  4. Cheryl says:

    Pretty sure that I developed early heart disease (in my early 50’s) from stress on the job. I was a manager for most of 20 years years after graduation, no other risk factors unless one considers RA a risk, and boom, found myself having open heart surgery at age 51. I took a job as an administrative assistant so that I wouldn’t feel the life-and-death stress on a daily basis.

  5. cara says:

    I’m an LPS for over 26 years, it’s true, it very stressful and no one cares, don’t forget we work every holiday and weekend, try being a single parent and explain you can’t be home for the holidays to a 3 year old

  6. Ruth says:

    This is real and it is upto us NURSES TO STAND FOR OURSELVES. I think genuine teamwork lessens the stress.I worked with RNs from Phillipines and their TEAMWORK IS OUTSTANDING! I think can embrace the LEAN CONCEPT applied in manufacturing companies quite interesting.

    • kay says:

      I think the team work factor depends on the individual, I have worked with Filipino nurses who were absolute cliquey monsters. I was running around overwhelmed and told by one “I wasn’t busy!” I was told by another I was too old to go back for my degree, they (hospital administration) only want these young ones. They were a nightmare to work with.

  7. Charlie says:

    This is very true for me. It hit home a bit. I graduated last year and got my 1st job in January of this year. Earlier today I put in my letter of resignation. Since starting my diet has been poor, I’ve been getting stress aches and pains and even started taking anxiolytics to reduce the stress from work. It’s unfortunate because it was so hard for me to find a job where I am but I can’t handle the stress of my current work environment and I’d rather put my health first. Understaffed, overworked with people who don’t have a degree in nursing micromanaging and limiting my actions. I had to get out before that place made me hate what I love

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