Nearly One Third of U.S. Registered Nurses Plan to Quit, According to Survey

According to a recent survey, close to one third of Registered Nurses in the United States are considering leaving the profession due to declining mental health and wellbeing.

Updated:   Published

Nearly One Third of U.S. Registered Nurses Plan to Quit, According to Survey

In January 2023, AMN Healthcare Services Inc. conducted a survey to examine the impact COVID-19 had on the career plans, job satisfaction, and mental health of 18,000 registered nurses in the United States. On May 1, 2023, the survey's findings revealed that 30% of these registered nurses are looking to quit their careers. These findings are up seven percentage points compared to the same survey conducted in 2021.

Additional findings from the 2023 survey include:

  • Only 15% of hospital nurses say they will continue in the same job in one year.
  • More nurses experience a great deal or a lot of stress, up 16 points since 2021.
  • Career satisfaction dropped to 71% in 2023 after holding steady at 80-85% for a decade.

Response from AMN Healthcare Services Inc.

According to U.S. News, AMN Healthcare CEO Cary Grace said these findings "really underscore the continued mental health and well-being challenges the nursing workforce experiences post-pandemic."

Related: Canadian Nursing Shortage: Why Canadian Nurses are Leaving Permanent Staff Positions

AMN Healthcare Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Cole Edmonson, also responded to the findings, stating that "the survey data reveal the depth of the problems faced in nursing today... the health of our nation is tied directly to the health of the nursing workforce.”

The State of Canadian Nurses

Although this survey reports only on the experience of U.S. nurses, these findings are comparable to the concerns underlying Canada's growing nursing shortage. Statistics Canada conducted a survey in 2021 and found that the COVID-19 pandemic mentally affected nurses so much that they wanted to change their job or step away from nursing completely. The number one reason cited for leaving the profession was increased stress and burnout for 70.9% of nurses. 

What Can Be Done to Retain Registered Nurses?

Data in the AMN survey included ways to reduce stress, increase job satisfaction, and promote retention in the nursing profession. Registered nurses identified five primary strategies to reduce their stress: increasing support staff; reducing the number of patients per nurse; increasing salaries; creating safer working environments; and including more nursing input into institutional decision-making.

Although employers tout access to effective mental health and wellbeing programs for nurses as highly important to fostering greater career satisfaction, the nursing survey participants do not identify this as a significant factor in managing their stress.

It is important that the voices of nurses are considered in systemic job retention decisions, as this survey demonstrates the growing trend of nurses being dissatisfied with their careers and their mounting contemplation of leaving the profession forever.

This article was originally reported by U.S. News & World Report L.P


Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator

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Jennifer Romans, BSN, RN

1 Article; 10 Posts

Specializes in Health Writer, Registered Nurse. Has 21 years experience.

I have definitely felt the stress and workload as a nurse increase in the past few years and without more staff coming, I am afraid of a mass exit of many more nursing staff. 


Carly Elliott, BSN, RN

10 Articles; 6 Posts

Specializes in Hospice Palliative Care and Home Health. Has 9 years experience.

I've had similar feelings working as a nurse the past few years since the pandemic started. I hope that decisions will be made to make our jobs more sustainable - being a nurse is so rewarding but not at the expense of our mental health.


48 Posts

I think for many nurses it's not the job itself but the work environment (short staffing, poor unit management, etc).  Combined with lack of appreciation, often low pay, and an exhausting schedule it's no wonder nurses are leaving in droves.

I had the opportunity to work as a nurse in a non-healthcare industry during the pandemic.   It was quite eye opening.  For the first time in my career I was paid what I was worth, treated with respect, and when  I needed extra help all I had to do was ask.  It's a shame healthcare can't treat nurses like that.  Ever notice they don't treat doctors the way they do nurses?  Or any non medical profession (except maybe teachers?). Wonder if they only do it to nurses because they think we'll take it? 🤔