Survey: Younger nurses more optimistic about future of profession

While most nurses are satisfied with their career choice, many are not happy in their current jobs, according to the 2013 Survey of Registered Nurses published Oct. 24. The survey also revealed differences in opinion between older and younger nurses on the changing direction of healthcare and their optimism about the future of nursing.

AMN Healthcare, a company that offers workforce solutions, sent 101,431 surveys to nurses via email. There were a total of 3,413 responses.

Overall, about 90 percent of nurses expressed satisfaction with their career choice, but only 73 percent were happy in their current job.

Younger nurses (ages 19 to 39) believed that the nursing shortage is not as bad as it was five years—45 percent shared this view compared with 41 percent of nurses age 40 to 54 and 34 percent of nurses age 55 and older.

There is also more optimism among younger nurses about healthcare reform. Thirty-eight percent of younger nurses believed the changes in healthcare will lead to an adequate number of nurses compared with 29 percent of nurses age 40 to 54 and 27 percent of nurses age 55 and older.

Older nurses also tended to believe that nursing care has declined—56 percent of nurses age 40 to 54 and 66 percent of nurses age 55 and older believe “[n]ursing is less dynamic, rewarding and robust today than when I began” compared to 37 percent of younger nurses.

The use of EMRs as required by the Affordable Care Act also revealed differences between the opinions of younger and older nurses.

Most younger nurses (60 percent) said EMRs will help boost productivity and help with patient care. Barely half of older nurses agreed with their younger counterparts (51 percent or lower).

"While the vast majority of nurses remain satisfied with [their] career choice, the younger generation is more optimistic about the profession and more receptive to the changes the industry is experiencing. These are differences that health systems must understand as they work with multiple generations of nurses," Marcia Faller, PhD, RN, AMN’s chief clinical officer, said in a press release.