2020 Nursing Trends, Salary Survey Results

 In Nurses Weekly

Learn what more than 4,000 nurses from across the country are saying about important issues—from bullying to COVID-19 to salary.

The results of American Nurse Journal’s fourth annual Nursing Trends and Salary Survey reveal much about nursing during this tumultuous year. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and associated challenges, 85% of survey respondents say they would still become a nurse if they had it to do over again. This has not changed significantly in the past 2 years (84% in 2019, 85% in 2018). However, individual responses and comments were likely influenced by the burden of local coronavirus outbreaks on a respondent’s employer and how individual nurses’ and their families’ health have been impacted. Here’s more about what nurses are saying.

Survey highlights

  • Of the respondents, 85% say the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t changed their career plans.
  • More than half of respondents (55%) report salary increases in the past 12 months, and 61% received a raise within the past year.
  • More than half of respondents (56%) report an increased workload in the past 12 months (compared to 60% in 2019).
  • A total of 4,263 RNs responded to the survey.

COVID-19 and the nursing workforce

More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents say they’re satisfied with their employer’s response to COVID-19, with 23% being totally satisfied. More than half (58%) say their organization is well prepared or extremely prepared to handle a surge in patients from a pandemic, natural disaster, or other reason for a sudden influx of patients. However, that means over 40% don’t think their organization is prepared.

Pay and perks

Of the respondents, 41% earn $80,000 to $139,999 per year. This includes 37% of clinicians and 57% of managers. More than half (55%) of respondents reported a salary increase in the past 12 months, down from 62% in 2019.

A total of 69% of respondents said they’re satisfied with their salary/compensation, and 75% report satisfaction with benefits provided by their organizations. A full 87% of respondents receive paid time off, including sick time and vacation.

Turnover and recruiting

Here’s some insight into nurses and length of employment:

  • Many respondents (78%) aren’t currently seeking another employer in the next 3 months.
  • Less than half (42%) plan to stay with their current employer for 5 years or more.
  • More than half (52%) have worked for their current employer for 5 years or less.

Job satisfaction

Satisfaction with current job, salary/compensation, benefits, and amount of authority were fairly comparable between clinicians and managers. Both groups also reported fairly high satisfaction with peer and supervisor relationships.

Bullying and violence among coworkers

Nearly four in 10 (39%) of respondents report having been verbally assaulted by another employee or healthcare provider, up slightly from 35% in 2019. In 2020, 42% of managers and 38% of clinical nurses reported they had been verbally assaulted by a healthcare provider.

Almost one-fifth (18%) had been verbally assaulted or bullied by their manager.

About half of respondents (46%) say they intervened when they witnessed workplace bullying. Only 8% didn’t intervene (46% didn’t witness bullying during that time). Many (38%) reported the incident verbally. Of those who reported, only 27% were satisfied with how the situation was handled. One possible explanation for this low number may be that managers aren’t always able to share specific interventions with staff.

Managers were more likely than clinical nurses to complete both verbal and written reports. The most common reasons for not reporting were the belief that nothing would be done about the situation (44%) and fear of reprisal (39%). Managers were more likely to fear reprisal than clinical nurses.

The survey also found that less than 2% of respondents had been physically assaulted by another employee or healthcare provider. Less than one in ten (8%) reported experiencing sexual harassment, and 58% of those didn’t report the incident.

Bullying and violence from patients and their families

Bullying and violence from patients and family members continues to be an issue. In 2019, 59% of respondents reported having been verbally assaulted by a patient. This year, 54% of respondents say they were verbally assaulted or bullied by a patient. Many (40%) reported the incident verbally.

The most common reasons for not reporting the incident were the belief that the incident wasn’t serious enough to report (51%) and that nothing would be done about the situation (40%). Of those who reported, only 56% were satisfied with how the situation was handled.

More than one-third (36%) of respondents say they had been verbally assaulted or bullied by a patient’s family member or visitor. Most (45%) reported the incident verbally.

Almost two in ten respondents (18%) report having been physically assaulted by a patient. Most (47%) made a verbal and written report, with 30% making only a verbal report. The most common reasons for not reporting were the belief that the incident wasn’t serious enough to report (50%) and that nothing would be done about the situation (40%). Of those who reported, only 48% were satisfied with how the situation was handled.

The survey also reveals that organizations are working to address these issues. Most respondents (78%) say their organizations have been supportive in reducing workplace violence. More than three-quarters (77%) have received or arranged for training in how to de-escalate patients, family members, or visitors who become agitated. Of those who have had training, 85% find the training helpful and 71% have applied the training in practice.

Nurses reveal what’s most important to them

Respondents were asked to pick three aspects of nursing that are most important to them. The most popular responses were the following:

  • Salary (69%, down from 70% in 2019)
  • Providing patient care (67%, up from 63% in 2019)
  • Opportunity for career growth (51%, down from 54% in 2019)
  • Flexible hours (50%, down from 53% in 2019)

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