Jump to content

Covid 2021 Survey: How is your staffing determined and do you feel it is safe? Do you experience moral distress?

Updated | Published

As nurses, we have been tested like no other over the past almost two years, with COVID-19 highlighting the many challenges that nurses face. This survey will allow you to add your input to that of thousands of other nurses regarding facility staffing methods, unsafe staffing, and moral distress.

by NursesTakeDC NursesTakeDC (Trusted Brand)

Specializes in Safe Staffing Advocate/Group.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Covid 2021 Survey:  How is your staffing determined and do you feel it is safe? Do you experience moral distress?

A National Nursing Survey: In a time of Covid 2021

SURVEY: How is your staffing determined and do you feel it is safe? Do you experience moral distress?

This is a study on hospitals and other facility staffing methods. It will assess for any moral distress experienced by nurses.

  • The survey will be open the entire month of October.
  • Nurses must have an active RN or LPN license and work in the US.

As nurses, we have been tested like no other over the past almost two years. Unsafe staffing and moral distress have always been a hidden problem in our profession, and Covid 19 only highlighted the many challenges that nurses face. Some nurses have stayed, some have taken up travel nursing, some advanced their education/role, and some have left the profession. All for many different reasons.

Our last national survey received almost 9,500 responses. The data was published in a white paper by the University of Illinois, School of Labor and Employment Relations and the Illinois economic policy institute. We have expanded this survey to assess how this pandemic has affected you both personally and professionally by asking questions on moral distress.

We hope to gain more responses and publish multiple papers showing your voice of what is occurring during this strenuous time in nursing.

We understand that nurses fear retribution and please know that all responses are anonymous.

To this day the NursesTakeDC event is a collaborative project that continues to focus on the following:

  • Uniting all nurses to join in the fight to get safe nurse-to-patient ratios
  • Educate the masses: Nurses, healthcare professionals and the community on the need for safe staffing and the legislation that would establish a standard of care. Legislation that would ensure that nurses could not be forced to take over a certain amount of patients. Legislation that also includes acuity to be factored into the staffing process. 
  • Get people involved in the process of contacting their legislators via calls, emails, and social media. Getting people to visit their legislators either in their own state, Washington DC, or both.

Please complete, share with all of your nursing colleagues. We thank you in advance.

Click Here To Take The Survey

Thank you,

NursesTakeDC Organizers

Join Nurses from across America in contacting their legislators and making a difference.​​

3 Articles   27 Posts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

13 Comment(s)

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

Our staffing lately is determined by how many people show up to work and how many people they can force to stay. In the past month I've been mandated four times to stay for 16 hour (total) shifts and three times I had to return for another shift 8 hours later. This past weekend we had two new mothers mandated from 11p-7a after their 3-11p shift. Both were going to be awake for more than 24 hours before they got home to take care of their infants. People are now starting to worry for their safety of their own family members, not just patients. It's the worst I've seen it in my four years at the hospital and others who have been there longer say the same. 

Edited to add- our hospital recently sent out a message that they hired over 40 new grads in an effort to improve staffing (that comes out to about 10% of our total nursing staff in the hospital). While on orientation, they've had some new grads stay for 16 hours so they can take five patients and their preceptor can take an additional 2 patients to cover staffing. To me this is the epitome of the wrong thing to do. New nurses should NOT be working 16 hours shifts, they do not have the experience and they're going to make mistakes. And the whole point of a preceptor is that the person is available to the orientee. How available are they with their own assignment?! Stupidity at its finest. 

tnbutterfly - Mary, BSN, RN

Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

Thanks for sharing, JBMmom!

I hope others will share their staffing experiences too.  These are the kinds of things that the general public (and the legislators need to know).  Besides just calling nurses heroes, the powers that be need to do something about this unsafe environment that nurses are being forced to work in.

This survey is a great way to get your voices heard.  NursesTakeDC is a great advocate for nurses.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

OR isn’t listed as a choice for setting, but I can definitely say non-clinical roles have been dictated to cover clinical time- and for some of those roles, it’s a bit scary considering how long they’ve been out of the clinical setting. We are also “reducing” surgical volumes because there is nowhere for them to go after if they are being admitted, holding patients overnight in PACU, and frequently PACU is the code blue bed because the ICUs are full. 

brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

18 hours ago, JBMmom said:

Our staffing lately is determined by how many people show up to work and how many people they can force to stay. In the past month I've been mandated four times to stay for 16 hour (total) shifts and three times I had to return for another shift 8 hours later. This past weekend we had two new mothers mandated from 11p-7a after their 3-11p shift. Both were going to be awake for more than 24 hours before they got home to take care of their infants. People are now starting to worry for their safety of their own family members, not just patients. It's the worst I've seen it in my four years at the hospital and others who have been there longer say the same. 

Edited to add- our hospital recently sent out a message that they hired over 40 new grads in an effort to improve staffing (that comes out to about 10% of our total nursing staff in the hospital). While on orientation, they've had some new grads stay for 16 hours so they can take five patients and their preceptor can take an additional 2 patients to cover staffing. To me this is the epitome of the wrong thing to do. New nurses should NOT be working 16 hours shifts, they do not have the experience and they're going to make mistakes. And the whole point of a preceptor is that the person is available to the orientee. How available are they with their own assignment?! Stupidity at its finest. 

Why aren't they using travelers?  Apparently cheaper to mandate and it proves they don't care about their staff or the safety of the patients.  Why did it take till now to hire these 40 new grads? 

There was 16 plus hour mandation at times, but I would call in sick if I had to work the next day or only come in for an 8 hour shift.  I refused to work back to back without enough sleep because of their choice not to staff appropriately!

Edited by brandy1017

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

3 hours ago, brandy1017 said:

Why aren't they using travelers? 

We have travelers everywhere. Our night ICU staff is about 50% travelers right now. But the travelers can't be mandated, so the mandates still fall to regular staff. And the new grads are hired in waves that coincide with the graduations from our local colleges, we had a cohort hired in January as well, but it wasn't quite as large. That group included two brand new grads that came to the ICU, with completely inadequate orientation and support. So disappointing. 

Clinic staff is not getting adequate training and nobody is checking annual competencies. I can't even imagine this happening within the inpatient setting. It's as if the education department has disappeared!?!

verene, MSN

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

On 10/2/2021 at 2:24 AM, brandy1017 said:

Why aren't they using travelers? 

 My hospital has a lot of them. Unfortunately with travelers, their contracts may be only 8-12 weeks.   Seems we barely get them trained sometimes before they are on to the next assignment.   The critical need for travelers right now is actually compounding the staffing issue - we've had a number of our regular staff leave to take travel gigs for the pay. (Seriously I've received recruitment ads to work as an RN where hourly pay is more than I make as an NP..... I can see the draw, particularly when if the assignment is terrible you know you don't have to renew and will be out of that facility in a couple of months). 

This just adds to the work burden of regular staff and the fewer regular staff the fewer people who are really invested in turning things around for the long-term and being able to tackle those changes to fix the system.  

In regards to staffing overall, every single specialty and discipline seems to be short-staffed right now from nursing to EVS to social work to medical... and it's not just inpatient, one of our challenges is trying to get patients into outpatient care on discharge, and yet our outpatient partners are also horrifically short-staffed and have no resources. Which in turn means more really ill patients being sent to us, because they can't get care in the community, and then we can't discharge. We are under so much pressure to take more patients in, but we are running out of beds, let alone the staff to care for them. Patient care is definitely suffering. Acuity is way up. Everyone is burning out - no matter the discipline or role and it just tumbles. So many things are falling through the cracks because there isn't some one in the role, the person in the role is untrained and covering, or brand-new with no experienced staff to rely on. 

Mandates are creeping back up again, and I expect will only get worse as we head into Winter months. 

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 29 years experience.

Our staffing is and always has been determined by the number of patients and not acuity.   
Like a lot of places we've been real challenged and because of overtime I've come close to burning out as I ever have.  But I don't feel any moral issues as I know at the end of the day I've done my best and I know how to leave yesterday behind and move on. 

They don't do mandatory overtime where I work. 

I recently took a much needed vacation and have stopped working overtime.

The only thing I can say about the shortage here is that it's kept wages up and the overtime bonuses can be up to $700 an extra shift.  But money isn't everything when nurses burn out and patients aren't safe. 

ClaraRedheart, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg. Has 7 years experience.

I'm light duty so I was working as a unit secretary on an ICU stepdown unit. I was shocked to see that many of the nurses had just as many patients as those that we usually have on a med-surg unit. The monitors were right there and it was sad, but interesting to see the dramatic vital tanks. Most of these nurses were getting called multiple times a day by family members for updates on their covid patients. I understand the need for updates, but they're already working short staffed. I'm already working light duty, maybe I could review the doctors and nurses notes with the family instead of overtaxing these poor nurses who are already pushed to their limits? I might have to bring that up next week. It's sad to see. They all had really good attitudes despite all that they were doing (and getting paid the same to do). 

NursesTakeDC

Specializes in Safe Staffing Advocate/Group.

Thank you to everyone commenting and taking the survey. Please share with your colleagues.

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 4 years experience.

My previous employer used a grid which did not take into account pt acuity. At my current employer they basically just went off of census (again without taking into account acuity). Either way it's not the safest way and my current employer has been mandating people left and right.