A new survey from the North Carolina Nurses Association shares concerns about nursing burnout across the state. The survey received 315 responses, highlighting concerns about staffing and workplace violence.
“Just got burnt out working 24-hour shifts," said A-B Tech Nursing student Emily Kocha. "So nurses work 12-hour shifts, three days a week usually. The money tends to be a little better."
Kocha worked as a paramedic for five years and is now making the transition into nursing. She plans to apply to Mission Health or Transylvania Regional Hospital after graduating.
“Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally," she said about the nursing school process. "It’s going to be a tough process but it’s definitely worth it."
“We have to deal with and listen to what our colleagues are saying,” said Meka Ingram, president of the North Carolina Nurses Association.
Ingram said she hopes the new survey of nurses across the state can be a call to action to address ongoing concerns.
According to the survey, 37.5% of respondents reported “severe” staffing shortages at their facilities. 48.6% of respondents said they have witnessed violence in the last two years.
“What I’m seeing nurses express is what I say is current traumatic stress disorder," Ingram said. "It just never went away because nurses are on at all times."
Ingram said that violence includes verbally abusive patients and families, and physical violence from patients in some cases.
“They’re having panic attacks going to work, they’re crying going to work, they’re looking for other careers," she said. "That’s serious and that’s why I’ve been telling people for such a long time and I’ve been telling people our next is now."
“It’s a hard profession, it’s hard to be in, and to not see the joy, I think it hurts us a little bit,” said Christy Andrews, Jack and Carolyn Ferguson Endowed Nursing Chair for A-B Tech’s School of Nursing.
Andrews said A-B Tech has seen a decrease in enrollment in nursing in the last two to three years. She said she believes the stresses of the pandemic on healthcare workers have made it difficult to attract new nurses to the field.
“I think that’s hurt us a little bit because it’s showing a very negative side of healthcare, and we’re not out there showing the wonderful things that nurses do, the wonderful care that nurses provide,” she said.