California Nursing Snapshot From BRN Survey

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California Nursing Snapshot From BRN Survey

Lower job satisfaction is never good

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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Every two years, the California Board of Registered Nursing surveys nurses throughout the state. The board recently made available the results of the 2012 survey. Much of the news is bad, but some points are encouraging:

1. Lower Employment.
  The employment rate for nurses in 2012 was down 2.7 percent from 2010. Employment rates were lower across all age groups, but the biggest drop was among nurses under 40.

2. Lower Salaries. The average annual salary for nursing positions has fallen $3,898 since 2010, to $78,236.

3. Scarcer Nursing Jobs. A larger percentage of nurses say it is hard to find an RN job. More non-retired nurses are looking for work and a full 27.5 percent of California nurses now work outside the profession, the highest figure since 2006.

4. Multiple Jobs. Among nurses who have found RN work, 15.5 percent now have more than one nursing job.

5. Fewer Temp Positions. The percentage of California RNs working for temporary agencies fell to 2.6 percent in 2012. Of the nurses working for temp agencies, 49.2 percent said they did so to have more control over their schedules, while 40.9 percent said they took temp work to supplement their income.

6. Slightly Younger Nurses. The average age of working nurses is now 46.1 years, down slightly from 2010.

7.  More Men. Male nurses now make up 11.6 percent of California’s nurse pool — more than in 2010, but several percentage points lower than 2008, when 14.4 percent of California RNs were men.

8. Greater Diversity. While the majority of California RNs are white, the percentage has fallen to 53.1 percent. In 2012, 19.5 percent of California nurses were Filipino, 9.5 were Asian or Pacific Islander and 6.6 percent were Hispanic. Diversity was still significantly greater among nurses under age 45.

9. More Advanced Degrees. The number of nurses entering the profession with only a diploma has fallen to 10.3 percent. The percentage of new nurses with associate or bachelor’s degrees rose slightly and the number of nurses entering the profession with master’s or doctoral degrees climbed from 1.9 to 2.2 percent.

10. Less Direct Patient Care. The percentage of staff nurses fell from 59.8 percent in 2010 to 56.1 percent in 2012. Most RNs still work in acute care hospital positions, but the percentage declined from 63.9 percent in 2010 to 63.1 percent in 2012.

11. Lower Job Satisfaction. Job satisfaction has dropped in many areas, including workload, job security, benefits and work environment.

However, there were improvements in job recognition, the quality of preceptor/mentor programs and nurse involvement in managerial decisions and policy. 

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