Nursing Trends: 2024 Report for Healthcare Employers

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Written by Danielle Roques, BSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
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Reviewed by Katherine Zheng, PhD, BSN Content Writer, IntelyCare
Circle graph with the words Trends Report 2024: What It Means for Healthcare Facilities

At IntelyCare, we’re focused on developing healthcare solutions for nursing professionals, facilities, and the patients they serve. A key part of that process is listening and learning. As we work to decipher the important nursing trends for 2024 — and how they will impact key stakeholders — we’re able to draw from our work with both nursing professionals and facility leaders across the nation.

In December 2023, we conducted a survey of nursing professionals and received over 5,000 responses. By listening to this feedback, we’ve gained valuable insights for organizations that want to focus on finding a better staffing and recruiting strategy this year as well as a preview on what’s in store for the future of nursing. Professionals at all levels can benefit from our survey findings and key takeaways for 2024. Here’s what we learned.

Survey Respondents: A Wide Range of Perspectives

Our survey reached nursing professionals of all backgrounds and experience levels. We received feedback from those new to nursing as well as those who’ve been in the field for years, and from respondents representing a range of nursing levels and care settings.

The result? We were able to engage with nursing professionals from across the spectrum, including many who worked in multiple position types and care settings, giving us a more complete picture from the field. Here’s a deeper breakdown of our survey respondents.

Graph showing nursing level and experience of respondents

Experience Level: Our Nursing Trends Survey pulled in a larger number of nursing assistants, but our respondents also reflected deeper experience levels, with nearly half having over ten years of experience, and over 90% having at least two years of experience in the profession.

Graph showing types of facilities and types of nursing roles

Facility and Job Types: A majority of our respondents indicated experience in non-acute settings over the past 12 months, although almost 32% had work experience in acute facilities. A large number (almost 62%) also identified themselves as working in full-time positions, followed by per diem (40%). However, the responses to these questions were not mutually exclusive, as our respondents had the opportunity to select multiple types of care settings and job types, reflecting the growing nursing gig economy that has emerged since the pandemic.

Graph showing types of nursing work of respondents

Practice Areas: While most worked in long-term care over the past 12 months, our respondents also reflected a wide spectrum of practice areas covering psychiatric/mental health, float, critical care, infectious/communicable disease, and others reflected below. This was a non-mutually exclusive question, so it also reflects nursing professionals working in multiple practice areas.

Graph showing race and gender identity of respondents

Demographic Breakdown: Our respondents reflected a broad range of ethnic and racial backgrounds as a majority (53.9%) identified themselves as Black, followed by White (21.9%), and Hispanic/Latino (8.8%). While most respondents identified as female, the number of respondents identifying as male (7.6%) is lower than, but somewhat reflective of, the overall percentage of males in nursing, estimated at 12% of the national nursing workforce.

Future Nursing Trends: Crisis Points

COVID-19 placed significant burdens on healthcare professionals of all specialties. While substantial efforts have been made to address the staffing crisis and improve workplace wellness, when nurses were asked how often they felt burned out last year, over 75% of those surveyed reported feeling burned out on a regular basis. In fact, only about 7% reported never feeling burned out last year. When asked how safe they feel at work, 28% of respondents replied “unsafe” or “very unsafe.”

What does this suggest? While the pandemic highlighted workplace challenges for nursing professionals and facilities alike, it was not the cause, as many of these long-standing problems continue to persist with no apparent end in sight. Here’s a look at a few of the major crisis points that our nursing trends survey uncovered.

Graph showing frequency of extra shifts and average number of patients.

Nursing professionals feel overworked. Nearly 85% of respondents said they are asked to cover extra shifts on at least a weekly basis, with over 46% reporting that they’re understaffed. Digging a little deeper, a significant majority of respondents reported that they were caring for nine or more patients on an average shift last year, including almost 63% of RNs, 76% of nursing assistants, and 92% of LPNs/LVNs who took the survey.

Why does this matter? With around 90% of our respondents having worked through some or all of the pandemic, these numbers indicate a workforce that isn’t seeing improvements in their workload, even after the World Health Organization officially announced an end to the global pandemic.

Nursing professionals are planning a job, or career, change in 2024. Most likely related to feelings of being overworked, nearly 77% of respondents are looking for a new job and 45% say they plan to leave nursing altogether in 2024.

Why does this matter? These are concerning statistics for a workforce that’s already feeling under-supported and over-stressed. With an overwhelming majority of nursing professionals surveyed looking for a change this year, without refocusing efforts to address the concerns of nursing professionals, facilities — and their patients — could be facing even more dire staffing challenges throughout 2024.

Graph showing frequency of burnout among respondents

Nursing professionals feel they can’t give the care to patients they want to provide. Nearly 42% of respondents reported that they did not feel like they spent enough quality time with their patients last year and 39% felt unsupported in their jobs. With three-quarters of respondents experiencing burnout, this isn’t the only concern employers should consider. Widespread burnout could also be masking deeper levels of moral injury, especially where nursing professionals feel powerless to provide the care they feel is needed for their patients.

Why does this matter? If these data points indicate an increase in the risk of moral injury on the job, then just adding more PTO to relieve exhaustion won’t solve the problem. Nursing professionals who are dedicated to providing optimal care for their patients, but who are unable to do so — and feel unheard in their concerns — will feel this impact on a deep level regardless of their work schedule. This in turn may be a significant factor in the drive to leave the profession reported above.

Graph showing staffing shortage worries of respondents

Nursing professionals are worried about the future. About 83% of respondents said that they were worried about the state of the nursing shortage in 2024, with 38.05% saying that they were “extremely worried.”

Why does this matter? These statistics show how much the staffing crisis is impacting the nursing workforce as higher patient ratios, shorter orientation periods, and increased patient acuity contribute to job-related anxiety and nurse disengagement.

Crisis Points: In Their Own Words

The above data points are a critical part of understanding the nursing trends for 2024, but it’s also important to hear how these professionals would vocalize the headwinds facing their profession.

When asked “If you could change one thing about your job in 2024, what would it be?” many of the respondents provided comments supporting the data points explored above. We received hundreds of comments that circled back to the need for support and to address the ongoing staffing and pay challenges. Here’s a sample of their responses that show respondents seeking:

  • “More compassion and support for nursing staff.”
  • “To be treated fairly and have adequate staffing levels. To not have to do 5 jobs.”
  • “[A] company that has my back and respects me and listens to my ideas and suggestions.”
  • “That my residents had the staff they deserve.”
  • “[To] [b]ring back humanity. Rushed care is equal to no care.”

The quantitative and qualitative responses suggest a workforce that is continuing to feel deeply stressed, which can’t be ignored. However, this isn’t the full story. In fact, our survey also uncovered positive takeaways and opportunities for facility leaders to improve nurse retention and career satisfaction in 2024.

Future Nursing Trends: Opportunities for Facilities

The key to workforce success for facilities in 2024, and beyond, may lie in maximizing the power of the nursing professionals in your existing nursing workforce. Amid stresses and staffing strains over the past several years, they’re the ones who have persevered and shown consistent dedication to their patients and profession. Here are some of the silver linings from our nursing trends survey.

Nursing professionals are hoping for the best. While almost 42% of respondents say they don’t currently spend enough time with patients (and with so many indicating that they are likely to leave their job in 2024), nearly 74% were still hopeful that they could spend more time talking to patients in 2024.

Graph showing the most meaningful parts of nursing according to respondents

Nursing professionals are devoted to patient care. When asked what’s the most meaningful part of nursing, respondents ranked caring for patients, helping people, and working as part of a team as the top factors that helped them persevere through each day.

“As employers, we are encouraged by the fact that so many are optimistic that they will spend more time with patients this year and that things like “caring for patients” remain the motivating factor in nursing. We must take this sentiment as an opportunity to lean into and nurture the workforce that remains.”
— Kerry Sirkka, Chief Growth Officer, IntelyCare

Graph showing what respondents said would make them more satisfied at work

Nursing professionals prioritize staffing support over higher salaries. A higher percentage of respondents (40.6%) stated that additional staffing was more important for them in 2024 than a higher salary (38%). This compelling insight as to the priorities of nursing professionals is worth noting; although facilities need to offer competitive pay to attract top candidates, our respondents were more interested in getting support from additional staff.

Graph showing what respondents say matters most in a nursing application

Nursing professionals want to know more about facilities from job descriptions. As these professionals look for new employers in 2024, they will be homing in on specific sections of job descriptions. Our survey respondents said that, in addition to the salary range, they prefer seeing a thorough description of job responsibilities and company culture (35%) in job ads, even more than a sign-on bonus (15.6%) or a description of benefits (11.4%).

Why does this matter? As facilities consider their staffing strategies in 2024, it’s important to remember that a big part of successful hiring is employee retention. Finding ways to supplement your workforce and promoting these company-wide efforts with prospective hires, can have cascading benefits — enticing new hires, re-energizing your existing team members, and improving patient care. Nursing professionals are dedicated to the ideals of their profession, so give them more reasons to stay on, or join, your team and they will.

Kerry Sirkka, Chief Growth Officer at IntelyCare, summarized this sentiment well:

“Despite everything that is stacked against the nursing workforce they remain hopeful. As employers, we are encouraged by the fact that so many are optimistic that they will spend more time with patients this year and that things like “caring for patients” remain the motivating factor in nursing. We must take this sentiment as an opportunity to lean into and nurture the workforce that remains. If they are hopeful that they will be spending more time with patients, how can we make that happen? Can we fill staffing gaps to reduce the burden of administrative tasks so that they can spend more time with patients? Can we make it easier for our workforce from CNAs to RNs to upskill through training and more education available so that they can elevate their responsibilities? Now is the time for employers to get more creative and take great care of those who spend their time caring for others.”

Where Do We Go From Here? 3 Strategies for Facilities

The current nursing trends drawn from our survey reveal opportunities for facilities to redevelop retention and recruitment strategies that may better connect with nursing professionals in 2024. We’ve synthesized the data, providing three tangible ideas for facilities to move past the crisis points this year.

1. Prioritize Improvements to Workplace Conditions so Your Nursing Professionals Can Tap Into Their Passion

The financial risks of losing dedicated staff can be minimized by looking at facility improvement strategies to boost job satisfaction, reduce workplace violence, and improve workplace conditions in general. Consider the creation of professional development councils that empower nursing professionals to build quality-improvement initiatives that appeal to them and find ways to improve feedback channels. Being heard and feeling appreciated can go a long way, especially this year.

“As employers, it’s time to meet nursing professionals where they’re at and rethink how we manage our workforces and investments to meet their needs. You need to look at things like flexibility and understand what that truly means to individuals in your workforce.”
— Sean Carney, Vice President of Client Experience, IntelyCare

2. Develop a Flexible Staffing Approach to Solve Clinical Challenges

Increase your efforts to address nurse burnout and moral injury by creating or boosting a long-term and flexible staffing strategy in 2024. Our nursing trends data suggests that nursing professionals aren’t just in it for the pay, but want adequate staffing levels so they can provide the degree of care they want to — and feel safe in the process.

Build a multidisciplinary team of full-time staff to enhance comradery and improve patient outcomes, supplemented by per diem support that you can expand or retract as needed to ensure stable staffing. At first it might seem costly, but investing in a strong, consistent, and supported clinical team can save your facility thousands of dollars in recruitment and onboarding costs for years to come.

3. Tailor Job Descriptions to Appeal to Nursing Professionals in 2024

Our survey suggests that candidates care as much or more about facility culture and work atmosphere than they do about salaries or bonuses, although competitive pay remains crucial.

Start by crafting job descriptions that describe your facility and your team and which showcase organizational efforts to moderate clinical demands and improve nurse-patient relationships. Focusing on these efforts helps attract nursing professionals with compassion and excitement who are ready to serve your organization and patients.

Sean Carney, Vice President of Client Experience at IntelyCare, shares his insight on these nursing trends and provides suggestions to facilities moving forward:

“The results of the 2024 survey showed us that the nurses and aides we’ve kept in the workforce aren’t in it for the money. So much has been made about nursing wages in the last few years, and rightfully so. But if we’ve learned anything it’s that throwing money at the staffing problem isn’t only unsustainable, it doesn’t work. As employers, it’s time to meet nursing professionals where they’re at and rethink how we manage our workforces and investments to meet their needs. You need to look at things like flexibility and understand what that truly means to individuals in your workforce. You need to look at shift diversity and understand that if you’re not offering roles beyond full-time, you’re limiting your recruiting pool. And lastly, plan ahead. There are cyclical events that impact the ability to stay properly staffed and must be accounted for.”

Continue to Effectively Navigate This Year’s Nursing Trends

Our survey of U.S. nursing professionals uncovers some troubling nursing trends but also highlights opportunities for healthcare facilities to improve their workplace, workforce, and patient care this year. Understanding what motivates nurses to reach their highest potential, such as ensuring adequate staffing levels and building on their desire to serve others, is the key to both attracting and keeping top talent. Follow the latest trends and best practices to help you overcome your staffing and management challenges this year.

Survey Methodology

In December 2023, IntelyCare surveyed nursing professionals across the United States to gain a better understanding of their attitudes toward the profession. We received completed surveys from 2,977 respondents and partial surveys from 2,035 respondents. The survey included 26 questions that aimed to understand trends in nurses’ job intentions in 2024, what leads to a meaningful nursing job experience and what challenges it, why nurses leave or accept new jobs, and more.

Survey respondents spanned across multiple provider types, including Nursing Assistants (58%), Licensed Practical Nurses (21.4%), Registered Nurses (13.9%), Certified Medical Assistants (6.3%), and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (0.4%), and almost half of respondents (49.1%) had over 10 years of nursing experience. The respondents also worked in a variety of care settings, including skilled nursing (55.6%), long-term care (40.4%), home health (33.6%), acute care (31.9%), and outpatient care (17.5%).

All participants responded anonymously and the data was validated and analyzed by the IntelyCare Data Science Department. For all inquiries regarding the report, please contact