Being in the medical field in any capacity is hard work, and no group knows that fact better than nurses.
A new study has concluded that a majority of nurses feel underappreciated and misunderstood by others — including by doctors and patients.
About nine in 10 American nurses believe that others don’t understand their level of work, according to a new poll done by OnePoll on behalf of connectRN for National Nurses Week.
The survey asked 1,000 nurses about how they’re perceived in their profession, with 85% noting that they feel misconstrued by outsiders.
Forty-seven percent of nurses stated that one of the biggest misconceptions about them is that their position is “easy” in comparison to other healthcare workers.
The poll also showed that 63% of nurses surmised that they’re depicted more positively now in the media than they were before the coronavirus pandemic. However, 63% still feel that their jobs aren’t seen as “human” by both patients and doctors.
Eighty-three percent noted that nurses are overlooked for what they do as frontline workers, while 63% feel the ways in which their bosses show their appreciation feels “patronizing.”
“The future of healthcare will be built shoulder to shoulder with the nurses and aides who have supported us all,” connectRN CEO Ted Jeanloz told Talker News. “It’s critical that we, as an industry, listen to what nurses need and take measures to improve their working conditions to empower this community and inspire those who are just starting their careers.”
The study also implored nurses to state what would make their jobs better — and they cited higher pay (41%) and smaller nurse-to-patient ratios (23%) in order to be able to give more time to every patient.
When asked what the hardest parts of working are, nurses explained that tackling long hours (30%), providing emotional support for multiple patients in one shift (20%) and dealing with nurse-to-patient ratios that are too large (18%) were the biggest issues.
Another conflict that nurses face is that they are often required to choose their job over time with their kids, according to 67% of those polled.
Despite the hardships of working in the medical sector, nurses still love what they do, calling their jobs rewarding (66%), demanding (47%) and joyful (41%).
About 54% recounted a desire to heal people while another 40% noted they got into the profession due to their experiences with an ailing family member. Twenty-nine percent wanted to embody the support they themselves would desire from others.
Seventy-nine percent of nurses did say that the doctors and other healthcare workers they work with daily often make them feel cherished, though 40% said they feel the most appreciated by their patients.
Sixty-four percent of respondents were happy to receive verbal or written “thank yous,” with 34% of people enjoying getting gifts and gift cards.
One of the nurses in the survey also shared one of the proudest moments of her nursing career. She recalled one time when she took an ICU patient outside for the first time in three months.
The person felt so loved and grateful for the simple gesture that the patient sobbed. “I still think about her five years later,” the nurse said.
“To hear how nurses and aides have been ‘recognized’ in the past for their contributions is both sad and infuriating. We have to do better,” connectRN’s Chief Marketing Officer Jen Reddy reiterated. “Our goal this year is to change the experience for this community and demonstrate we are listening — and valuing their impact — not just for one week, but every day.”