Muslim nurse with man in wheelchair

There could be good news for healthcare providers struggling to recruit and retain registered nurses (RNs). The 2023 State of Nursing Report released Tuesday by career site Incredible Health found 80% of nurses recently polled said they planned to remain in their field until they retired. That is a significant improvement over the 55% who said they would remain in their careers until retirement in 2022. 

More than half (54%) of the 3,000 nurses polled said they would recommend nursing as a career. Incredible Health CEO said those are positive trends for an industry that still has room to make improvements.

“There is no doubt that we are seeing improvements in key areas within nursing likely due to market forces and hospital executive attention,” Iman Abuzeid, MD, co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health, said in a statement. “However, there are several identifiable areas where more focus by health systems, nursing education leaders, and Incredible Health would have a significant impact on the overall nursing experience and make the field more highly attractive to new nurses.” 

The survey found 84% of respondents remain dissatisfied with steps the industry is taking to address burnout, staffing and pay. The majority of respondents (93%) said staffing shortages have worsened over the past year and only about one-third reported feeling fairly compensated for the work they perform. Roughly two-thirds of respondents said they had considered leaving their full-time positions for contract work, which often pays more.  

An increase in the use of signing bonuses may have helped some providers recruit and retain nursing staff. Incredible Health said nearly half of all offers made to RNs recruited on its platform this year include signing bonuses, a 14% improvement over last year. The average signing bonus was $11,767. 

Although nurses may be more satisfied with their jobs now that the strains of the COVID-19 pandemic are easing, the staffing crisis could worsen as the demand for clinicians increases in the face of an aging population. A report released Monday by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and the Home Care Association of America found the number of RNs has decreased in the past decade, while the number of home care workers has doubled. 

The provider groups are calling on Congress to forgive student nurse loans, make telehealth waivers permanent, waive 60-day recertification regulation under Medicaid and allow nurse reciprocity certification across state lines.