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Staffing shortages could drive some nurses to leave medicine as a whole. A recent survey from the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment revealed that three-quarters (75%) of foreign-educated RNs who are currently practicing would consider leaving the field if shortages aren’t fixed. This is up from one-third in 2021.

According to respondents, shortages have only gotten worse in the past few years. The majority of foreign-educated nurses (93%) say their hospital is experiencing a shortage. This is up from 59% in 2020. And most (60.4%) say the staffing shortage has gotten worse over the last year.

Burnout (53%) was the most common factor for the worsening shortage. This was followed by staff nurse resignations (37%). Just under 4 in 10 respondents say their hospital has closed beds because it was unable to staff them. And only 3 in 10 say they can provide adequate care under current staffing levels. Most (61%) say that work stress is negatively impacting their lives outside of the hospital. 

According to AAIHR President Patty Jeffrey, “While most industries have rebounded from the initial interruption and economic shock of the pandemic, nursing will bear the scars of the last three years for decades to come—and at great cost for ordinary patients.”