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Direct patient care taking up less time for nurses today and more nurse poll findings

Thinkstock /  Hongqi Zhang

Thinkstock / Hongqi Zhang

Direct patient care is taking up less time for nurses than it was five years ago, and technology is increasingly helping nurses do their jobs more effectively.

These are two of the findings from a new poll conducted by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder earlier this year. The report looks at the views of approximately 900 full- and part-time nurses on a wide variety of topics. The nurses polled came from a wide variety of workplace settings, including hospital, home care, hospice, ambulatory and more.

While 41 percent of nurses say that direct patient care takes up less of their time than it did five years ago (or at the beginning of their careers), it still makes up 38 percent of a nurse’s time, more than any other task. The majority of nurses (57 percent) think technology allows them to do their jobs more efficiently. Still, 46 percent think technology also makes care less personal.

Nurses also were asked how they think the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will affect their workplace: 47 percent say the impact will be negative, 31 percent think it will be positive and 23 believe it will have no impact.

Many questions of the poll focused on two categories: career paths and education. Below are a few of the highlights:

  • Of the nurses polled, 37 percent have not worked in management positions and also have no desire to do so in the future.
  • Of those nurses looking to move to a different specialty, most (54 percent) want to do so for a better life/work balance. As you may expect, pay is the second leading factor.
  • Almost two-thirds of nurses — 63 percent — had a mentor assigned to them when they began their career. A whopping 96 percent said the mentor was helpful in some way.
  • About one-half of nurses practicing for 15 years or less say that a bachelor’s degree was required at the beginning of their career. This is compared to 42 percent of nurses that have worked for more than 15 years.

“One of the biggest challenges for the industry is the need to make room for the tens of thousands of people who enter the profession each year while simultaneously satisfying health care organizations’ need for skilled, veteran nurses,” said Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder’s health care division, in a press release announcing the study. “The study made clear that while nurses feel traditional academic settings are working, mentoring and continuing education programs are a vital piece of individual career development and assist nurses’ ability to excel at efficient, compassionate patient care.”

What do you think? Do these numbers seem to line up with how you and your fellow nurses feel? Sound off in the comments!

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