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Nurses: Trusted Messengers in the Public Health Response

Published on: March 05, 2021.


About the Data Insights

Staffing and equipment shortages, mental health challenges and burnout are a few of the key challenges facing nurses during the pandemic. This infographic explores strategies to strengthen the nursing workforce, including supporting their role as trusted messengers during the pandemic response.

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Largest share of health care workforce: Nursing Fact Sheet, American Association of Colleges of Nursing

3.8 million nurses: Nursing Fact Sheet, American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Gender & Racial/Ethnic breakdown: Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Note: breakdown includes 3.3 million registered nurses as counted by the Current Population Survey

Trust: Honesty and Ethics 2020 poll, Gallup

Projected shortage: Nursing Shortage, American Association of Colleges of Nursing

2018 survey on leaving nursing workforce: Shah MK, Gandrakota N, Cimiotti JP, Ghose N, Moore M, Ali MK. Prevalence of and Factors Associated With Nurse Burnout in the US. JAMA Network Open. 2021

PPE Shortages & Staffing Challenges:

  • March & April Survey: Survey: Nurses Fear Going to Work Due to Lack of Protection from Virus More than 32k Nurses Share Experience from the Front Lines, American Nurses Association

  • May & August Survey: Update on Nurses and PPE: Survey reveals alarming conditions, American Nurses Association

Shortages & Traveling Nurses: Need a COVID-19 Nurse? That’ll Be $8,000 a Week, Kaiser Health News

Survey, Positive Progress: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Nursing Profession in the U.S., American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL)

Burnout: A Pandemic’s Toll on Nurses, NurseGrid in collaboration with the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN)

  • Note: 22% statistic calculated by summing percent of nurses that said they will either leave bedside care (18.0%) or completely change their career (4.1%). This does not include nurses that will retire early or already planned to retire.

Mental Health: The Mental Health of Healthcare Workers in COVID-19, Mental Health America

Physical Health, COVID Numbers: Lost on the frontline, An Investigation by Kaiser Health News & The Guardian; data collected 3/4/2021

Immediate Strategies:

Long-term Strategies:



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