“The system is broken. Nurses are on the frontline of providing care to patients, yet they are sick and in need of healing themselves.”
– Vickie Milazzo
New Survey Reveals Dangerous Levels of Stress Among Nurses
The Very People Treating Patients Are Sick Themselves
Houston, June 30, 2014 – A new national survey “Are You Way Too Stressed Out?” published by Vickie Milazzo Institute, a pioneer in the field of legal nurse consulting, has revealed that nurses in the United States experience extreme levels of stress that are likely to bring a crisis to the healthcare industry. Lack of sleep, 12-hour shifts, night shifts, poor diets, unrealistic workloads and unsupportive management are just some of the key contributors to the dangerously high levels of stress being experienced by registered nurses (RNs) today.
The survey of 3,312 nurses was conducted online during the period of May 13-29, 2014. With 73% of respondents having more than 10 years experience as an RN, the responses provide a broad view of the nursing industry.
According to the survey results, RNs are neglected by a system that overworks, under-appreciates and marginalizes the experience of individuals who are the most connected to patients. The stress impacts more than just nurses, as patients receive less than ideal care and healthcare institutions open themselves up to increased liability from mistakes and errors caused by the high levels of stress.
“The system is broken,” says Vickie Milazzo, President of Vickie Milazzo Institute. “Nurses are on the frontline of providing care to patients, yet they are sick and in need of healing themselves.”
One of the main contributors to the stress felt by RNs is a lack of sleep. Sixty-four percent (64%) of survey respondents rarely get 7-8 hours of sleep in a night. Merely 17% responded that they are “always” able to achieve this level of sleep. Going hand-in-hand with the lack of sleep are the extended 12-hour shifts, sometimes without breaks and sometimes throughout the night, and the on-call shifts. It’s difficult for RNs to find downtime.
Exacerbating the stress is a poor diet. According to the survey results, a whopping 77% of respondents do not regularly eat properly. Almost one third (31%) of respondents rarely eat at least two balanced meals per day.
Eighty-two percent (82%) of survey respondents feel that it’s difficult to strike a work-life balance. Twenty-eight percent (28%) “always” have work on their mind.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of survey respondents feel they do not have the authority they want at the workplace. Twenty-four percent (24%) feel that they do “not at all” have the authority they need to get their job done well.
The “Are You Way Too Stressed Out?” survey provided respondents the opportunity to answer the question, “What are some of the things that stress you out the most?” Many of the responses pointed at mismanagement. Responses included:
- “Those in leadership roles abusing power, favoritism, lateral violence.”
- “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 $$.”
- “Corporate chaos, lack of support, unrealistic expectations, being put in possible license jeopardy due to corporate greed and mismanagement.”
“The stress placed on our nurses is eventually going to cause many of them to quit, crippling our healthcare system. Our nursing system is already grappling with an aging workforce. Together both factors have the potential for creating a significant nursing shortage,” says Milazzo. “On top of this, the number of 65+ seniors among the general population in 2030 will be double the number from the year 2000, and we’ll need more nurses to support such a large increase in seniors. Put it all together, and we may be headed for a national crisis.”
The projected crisis extends beyond just nurses. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities will be just as much at risk. Stress contributes to mistakes and errors and puts healthcare facilities at risk for liability. A study from the Journal of Patient Safety revealed that as many as 400,000 Americans die each year from malpractice in hospitals. This makes hospital errors the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Unless solutions are implemented to reduce the stress levels of RNs, it’s likely that the situation will only worsen in the future.
The “Are You Way Too Stressed Out?” survey results as well as a SlideShare summary of survey highlights can be found here:
About Vickie Milazzo Institute
Vickie Milazzo Institute is the authoritative resource center for nurses seeking to explore the field of legal nurse consulting. As the pioneers in this profession, the Institute is dedicated to revolutionizing nursing careers one RN at a time. Founded by Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD, Vickie Milazzo Institute is the nation’s oldest and largest legal nurse consulting training institute. Nationally recognized by attorneys, the CLNC® Certification is the official certification of the National Alliance of Certified Legal Nurse Consultants (NACLNC®). For more information, please visit LegalNurse.com.