Almost a quarter are thinking about leaving health care after two years of a pandemic.
Research from Ipsos shows that health care workers are resilient after two years of working through a pandemic, but there are numerous warning signs about the long-term future of the workforce.
Half of the health care workers surveyed said they are burned out, and almost a quarter are considering leaving the field in the future. Optimism declined compared to Spring 2021, as health care workers widely disapprove of how the rest of the country has handled the pandemic.
Yet there are signs of hope, too. A majority of health care workers are satisfied with their jobs, with the number holding relatively steady compared to last year. Of those surveyed, 80% report being somewhat or very satisfied with their current job, down slightly from 89% in 2021. Three quarters agree with the statement, “I love working in health care.” A majority report feeling hopeful (59%), down from 76% last year. Those feeling optimistic feel from 67% to 56%.
Over a third (39%) agree with the statement “The American health care system is on the verge of collapse.”
American health care workers have a differing view of the pandemic than the average person. Only 21% of health care workers say the pandemic is mostly or completely under control, and 61% do not think Americans are taking enough precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Health care workers support public health efforts to provide N95 masks (85% support) and COVID tests (83% support).
The spread of the pandemic has meant that the majority of health care workers have direct experience caring for a COVID patient, with 66% having treated someone that was positive. For nurses, that number is 84% and 86% for hospital workers. Almost half (47%) report having a patient who died of COVID-19 (53% for nurses and 55% for hospital workers).
For those treating unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, 67% said their patients continued to express skepticism toward the vaccine while 38% said patients expressed regret for not getting the vaccine. In addition, 26% reported their patients asked for unproven COVID treatments and 30% said the patient or family criticized the care they received.
As far as attitudes toward other aspects of the pandemic, health care workers are slightly positive on the CDC (54% approve, 34% disapprove), while 41% support the Biden Administration with 40% disapproving. Only 20% of health care workers approve of the news media, with 61% disapproving, and only 18% approve of the American public with 68% disapproving.