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New Survey Findings: Patients Lack Access to Appropriate Number of Nursing and Ancillary Staff

Keziah Proctor    

SILVER SPRING, MD – Today, the American Nurses Foundation (the Foundation) released the findings of a new comprehensive survey of more than 11,800 nurses nationwide on workplace culture and safety as part of the Pulse on the Nation’s Nurses Survey Series. This data reveals nurses are sounding the alarm that quality care is at risk and concerns are high over a healthy and safe work environment.

As the nursing shortage continues to worsen across the country, due in part to the prolonged demands of the pandemic, nurses are indicating the necessary number of registered nursing (RN) staff with the right knowledge and skills are often unavailable to meet patient needs. According to this newest survey, 55% of nurses in acute care hospitals indicate that 49% of the time or less their unit does not have the necessary number of RN staff with the right knowledge and skills. And half (50%) of respondents across all care settings indicate that 49% of the time or less their unit does not have the necessary RN staff available. Furthermore, over half (66%) of respondents say they sometimes, seldom, or never have the necessary or appropriate ancillary staff, who are personnel that assist nurses in the care of patients, to provide support such as personal hygiene care and ambulatory assistance. In acute care, many (74%) of the nurses surveyed said that the appropriate number of ancillary staff were available sometimes, seldom, or never.

“The most worrisome aspect of this data is that nurses – who were called heroes for their extraordinary pandemic care – are still at risk and under supported,” said the Foundation Executive Director Kate Judge. “Virtually nothing has changed in terms of nurses’ burdens and personal suffering. We must break the negative cycle and prioritize the health and well-being of our nurses who are already severely burned out and working overtime to care for patients and communities. Institutions must respond and change their work environments and culture. Healthy and safe work environments are critical to the success of nurses and the overall quality of health care provided. As we continue to see units and hospitals close due to lack of staff, these findings underscore the urgent need to take action. The Nurse Staffing Think Tank, comprised of leading health care organizations including the American Nurses Association, published a list of recommendations to include building a flexible work environment with flexibility in shifts, policies, and roles to help mitigate nursing shortages. We must take heed. Our health care system will inevitably collapse if we don’t act.”

View the complete survey results and findings online.  

*Data was collected through a non-incentivized survey administered by the American Nurses Foundation. Between June 15 – July 5, 2022 – 11,863 nurses completed this survey.*


About American Nurses Foundation
American Nurses Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association (ANA), with the mission to transform the nation’s health through the power of nursing. The Foundation supports research, education, and scholarships, which improve health, wellness, and patient care. For more information visit

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