10 biggest issues nurses are facing today

10 biggest issues nurses are facing today


Nurses are essential stakeholders in the healthcare system. They provide a crucial link between the clients seeking healthcare services and healthcare institutions. While many may consider it a calling, nurses still face many issues in their current work environment.

The following are the biggest issues facing nurses today:

  1. Burnout

Nurses are often subjected to long and extended shifts leading to overwork and burnout. Nurse burnout can be measured on both physical and emotional levels. Research conducted by Kronos Incorporated shows that 63% of nurses have admitted to suffering burnout as a result of their work.

  1. Stress

It can be appreciated that nurses are exposed to high levels of stress in their workplaces. The most common sources of stress for nurses include time pressure to fulfill certain duties, sleep deprivation, exposure to workplace violence, and lack of adequate social support from top management in solving their concerns.

  1. Work safety

Nurses face both short term and long term work safety issues, and these have become some of the most pressing problems in nursing. They are exposed to high-risk pathogens that can lead to debilitating infections. They also tend to suffer physical injuries, including back strains, falls, needle sticks, and joint injuries while handling patients. Some of these injuries can affect their quality of life for long periods.

  1. High workload

A high workload is increasingly becoming synonymous with this profession as nurses are working more hours. This negatively affects their work-life balance, thereby reducing overall job satisfaction. The factors affecting the nursing workload include the increased demand for nurses, the length of stay in hospitals by patients, and staffing shortages. A high workload affects not only the nurse, but it has also been shown to decrease patient safety.

  1. Nursing shortfall

Although nurses account for nearly 50% of all health workers, there still remains a challenge in meeting the required nurse-to-patient ratios both now and in the future.  According to the World Health Organization, the globe will require 9 million more nurses by 2030 if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, which focuses on health and well-being for all.

  1. Low job satisfaction

Low job satisfaction is one of the major professional issues in nursing that leads to their exit from the workforce. According to a recent survey, over 40% of registered nurses have contemplated leaving their jobs due to low job satisfaction. Persistent overwork and lack of fulfillment have heavily contributed to decreased job satisfaction.

  1. Ethical issues

Nurses are guided by principles, moral ethics, and virtues. However, these guidelines may clash with the increased moral choices that are present today. These may include eugenics and euthanasia, which provide scenarios for some of the biggest controversies in nursing. These situations put the nurses at a moral dilemma in terms of consideration and involvement.

  1. Salary

Salary compensation is one of the biggest issues affecting nurses’ morale. There are many factors that affect the nurses’ compensation rate, and they include experience, level of education, area of specialization, and the geographical location of the practice. These different factors make some of the nurses feel underrated and under-compensated as they are all overworked. The highest-paid nurse, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist who is paid $153,679 a year. The least paid nurse is a Licensed Vocational Nurse who earns a total of 42,490 per year.

  1. Electronic Health Record System (EHR)

The EHR system is applied in health institutions to create a patient’s comprehensive digital health report. While this may sound modern and impressive, its implementation is one of the biggest nursing care issues today. The major concerns of the system that accompany it include security and privacy concerns as well as the loss of productivity among the nursing staff, especially if it impedes their workflow. The electronic system is slowly contributing to worker turnover, as 19% of nurses consider quitting their profession exclusively due to the wrong implementation of EHR in the workplace.

  1. Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is prevalent in the workplace, including the healthcare system. In a profession dominated by women, many of the victims of sexual harassment are female nurses. The harassment is mostly orchestrated by senior medical practitioners, fellow nurses, management staff, and patients.

While the forums for reporting sexual harassment are open, many reported cases are unresolved, and this can lead to heightened stress levels, disillusionment, and decreased mental health. This has prompted the nurses to also join the #MeToo movement that advocates for victims to speak out against sexual harassment in the workplace in a bid to reduce the vice.

Providing the best environment for nurses to thrive is increasingly becoming a challenge due to the issues prevalent in this profession. It is important for all stakeholders in the healthcare system to create and implement policies that can improve the nurses’ working conditions. This will help elevate the nursing profession and increase its impact in the global healthcare system that so fervently needs it.


I am Dr. Marion Johnson, a Nurse Supervisor, Educator, and A clinician with a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree (DNP) and a Master of Science in Nursing Degree (MSN) both from Walden University. I have worked as a nurse in the healthcare industry for over 15 years. Presently, I am doing something I love most, which is being an online instructor. In this position, I believe I can learn, educate, create and implement positive input into the nursing field. Besides work, I am also an avid reader of nursing journals and articles that is why I have a passion for reading, learning and sharing on the trending topics in the nursing arena.

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