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2012 Survey of RNs Released

Lisa Schulmeister, RN, MN, APRN-BC, OCN, FAAN
Published Online: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
AMN Healthcare Services, Inc., a healthcare recruitment and staffing agency, released the results of their "2012 Survey of Registered Nurses" on November 8, 2012. This is the third year that the survey has been conducted. The survey is designed to examine RN job satisfaction, career and education plans, and whether or not RNs would recommend nursing as a career.

The survey was emailed in April 2012 to 88,288 RNs who were registered with the and websites and the response rate was 3.3%. Most of the RN respondents (91%) are satisfied with their choice of a career; however, 27% are not satisfied with their particular jobs. That compares to 74% who were satisfied with their career choice in the previous survey, and 42% not satisfied with their particular jobs. Overall, from 2011 to 2012, there has been a significant improvement in both career satisfaction and intent to stay in the current job.

Nurses were asked what career changes they would make now that the economy is beginning to recover, and 66% of the respondents indicated that they would continue working and 17% have plans to retire, work part-time, seek a non-nursing job or take other steps likely to reduce the overall nurse workforce. This finding is likely reflective of the aging nursing workforce.

The majority of nurses (55%) who completed the survey said that if they were starting out today, they would choose nursing as their career (unchanged from 2011). On the other hand, 44% said they either would not choose nursing as a career or were not sure if they would if they were starting out today. That also remains unchanged from the previous year. Younger nurses (19-39) were somewhat more positive about their career choice than were more experienced nurses (age 55 or older). Of the younger group, 62% (66% in 2011) said they would choose nursing as a career again, while only 52% (56% in 2011) of the older group would do so.

The majority of nurses (59%) said that they would recommend nursing as a career to their children or to other young people, while 40% said they would not recommend nursing as a career or were not sure that they would. These 2012 numbers are slightly more optimistic from those in 2011 (57% and 43%, respectively). Nurses age 19-39 were generally more positive about recommending nursing as a career than those ages 55 or older. The survey report is available at
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