Found this on the net. The results of this Harris Poll were released in July 1999.
Harris Poll reveals Americans fear effects of nursing shortage on quality of health care
Study also shows public trusts information provided by nurses as much as doctors
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - As a national nursing shortage builds, more than half of Americans believe the quality of health care is affected "a great deal" by a shortage of nurses, according to a new Harris Poll released today.
The nursing shortage is posing an increasing threat to the quality of care in hospitals and health organizations, and this poll reflects the general public's concern. Only four percent of respondents said the quality of health care that people in the country receive was not affected "at all" by a nursing shortage.
Sigma Theta Tau International, an honor society of nursing, and NurseWeek Publishing Inc., publishers of NurseWeek and HealthWeek, a nursing and health care trade publication, commissioned the poll, conducted by Louis Harris & Associates, Inc. More than 1,000 people were surveyed in this public opinion poll, conducted in June. The groups collaborated to conduct the poll to gauge attitudes about the nursing profession.
Despite 2.5 million registered nurses in the United States, a shortage exists in nurses with needed specialties, skills and experience. Nurses are in particular demand if they demonstrate a high level of skills in the operating room, recovery room, emergency room or pediatrics. Hospital recruitment efforts to reverse the shortage include big sign-on bonuses, salary increases and tuition reimbursement plans.
Other poll results include:
1) An overwhelming majority of the public (92 percent) said they trust information about health care provided by registered nurses, ranking nurses even with physicians.
2) 85 percent of the Americans said they would be pleased if their son or daughter became a registered nurse.
3) 76 percent of the public thinks nurses should have four years of education or more past high school to perform the duties of their job.
4) When asked about specific duties of registered nurses, 91 percent of the public recognized they monitor patient care, but only 14 percent recognized that nurses prescribe medications.
1) Public's trust of nurses
An overwhelming majority of the public (92 percent) said they trust information about health care provided by registered nurses, ranking nurses even with physicians. Nurses ranked higher than teachers (62 percent) or journalists (51percent). Only two percent of respondents said they didn't trust health care information "at all" provided by doctors or registered nurses.
2) Nursing as a career
Americans on average would be considerably more pleased if their son or daughter said they wanted to become a registered nurse than a journalist or a lawyer, and much more pleased if they wanted to become a registered nurse than a police officer. Nursing ranked roughly the same as teaching. On a scale of one (very displeased) to 10 (very pleased), respondents were asked to rate how they would feel about their son or daughter choosing a certain profession.
3) Education levels for nursing
When asked about the education of nurses, nearly one-half of the public said nurses should have four years of education beyond high school. Three out of ten Americans think nurses should have five to 10 years of education beyond high school.
The education level of nurses continues to be a hot topic, as diverse nursing groups across the country seek to make the baccalaureate degree the standard entry point into practice. Nurses now only need an associate degree for RN licensure. Entry-level BSN enrollment has fallen 6.6 percent from a year ago, dropping for the fourth year in a row, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
By the year 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects there will be 596,000 registered nurses with a BSN, with a need for 854,000 baccalaureate nurses. Nurses with five or more years of education (Master's or Doctorate degree) are projected at 175,000, with a need for 377,000 in the health care system. Projections for 2010 and 2020 continue to drop off significantly in each degree area.
4) Nursing's role in health care
When asked about specific duties of registered nurses, the public recognized that nurses monitor care and provide counseling to patients, but were less aware that nurses diagnose, treat and prescribe medicines, which are duties of advanced practice nurses. Responses were as follows:
91% said nurses monitor the condition of patients
69% said nurses provide counseling to patients
34% said nurses diagnose health conditions
23% said nurses decide on treatments for patients
14% said nurses prescribe medications
A complete report of the Harris Poll findings is available for $25 to the public and at no cost to the media. For more information or to request a copy, please contact Amy Macke, Sigma Theta Tau, at 888.634.7575, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
; or contact Barbara Bronson Gray, NurseWeek at 818.889.5312, e-mail: email@example.com
or visit the web site at www.nurseweek.com.
For a copy of Sigma Theta Tau's "Facts on the Nursing Shortage," including several recommendations to curb the shortage, visit our web site at www.nursingsociety.org/media/