Study: American Healthcare Workers are Resilient, Yet Half Report Feeling “Burned Out”

Feb. 22, 2022
A USA Today-Ipsos study finds that although healthcare workers are remaining strong two years into the pandemic, some are feeling run down or considering leaving the field

New findings from a USA Today-Ipsos study, entitled “American Healthcare Workers Persevering, but Remain Stressed,” find that one in three healthcare workers in the U.S. thinks the system is on the verge of collapse.

The study states that “New USA Today-Ipsos research finds that workers in the American healthcare sector are resilient in the face of two years of the pandemic. However, this survey also finds numerous warning signs of the ongoing strain these workers are experiencing, with half reporting they are burned out and almost a quarter thinking about leaving the field in the near future. Additionally, optimism among these workers has declined relative to Spring 2021—as the vaccine was rolling out—as people in the healthcare field widely disapprove of how the rest of the country has handled the pandemic.”

That said, “The large majority of healthcare workers report being satisfied with their jobs, only slightly down from findings in a Spring 2021 KFF/WP poll.

  • Four in five (80 percent) of healthcare workers report being somewhat or very satisfied with their current job, down slightly from the 89 percent saying the same in a Spring 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post poll.
  • Three quarters (73 percent) agree with the statement “I love working in healthcare”.
  • A majority report feeling “hopeful” (59 percent), “motivated” (59 percent), or “optimistic” (56 percent) about going to work. However, the number saying hopeful (to 59 percent from 76 percent) or optimistic (to 56 percent from 67 percent) is down compared to last year.”

Yet, the survey continues to explain that the healthcare workforce is facing resiliency issues, including:

  • Fifty-two percent report feeling “burned out”
  • Thirty-nine percent report agreeing with the statement “the American healthcare system is on the verge of collapse”
  • Sixteen percent disagree and 18 percent don’t know how they feel regarding their career choice
  • Twenty-three percent of healthcare workers say they are likely to leave the field entirely in the future

Regarding the pandemic, twenty-one percent of healthcare workers say that the pandemic is mostly or completely under control. Additionally, 66 percent of healthcare workers have treated a COVID-19 patient—84 percent among nurses and 86 percent among workers in hospital settings. Of those, almost forty-seven percent report having a patient who died of COVID-19, 53 percent among nurses and 55 percent in hospital settings.

The Kaiser Family Foundation 2021 health care worker survey data can be found here.

“These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between February 9-16, 2022 by using the probability-based KnowledgePanel,” the survey adds. “This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,170 healthcare workers ages 18 or older.”