California RNs Report Greater Job Satisfaction

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California RNs Report Greater Job Satisfaction

Results from the latest BRN survey

By Working Nurse
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The BRN’s biennial Survey of Registered Nurses is a goldmine of information on the demographics, salaries and job satisfaction of California RNs. The recently released 2016 survey report is mostly upbeat, but also offers some sharp criticism of the state of the profession.

“Satisfied to Very Satisfied”

The survey report, prepared for the BRN by researchers at UCSF, found that California RNs in 2016 were more ethnically diverse, better educated, better paid and more satisfied with their work than in previous years. 

Although average weekly hours have remained about the same, pay has increased. Average annual income was up 5.4 percent from 2014, to $99,008. Meanwhile, nurses with a BSN or higher degree now outnumber ADN-prepared nurses, particularly among RNs under age 35.

Respondents rated their satisfaction with various aspects of their jobs on a scale of 1 to 5, with 4 meaning “satisfied” and 5 meaning “very satisfied.” Overall satisfaction with the profession rated 4.21, a 10-year high, while overall job satisfaction rated 4.15.

Harsher Feedback

There were a few sour notes in the narrative response section of the survey, where respondents expressed frustration at what they see as worrisome trends in nursing.

“We are producing data pictures that look better to our regulators and accreditors at a cost to the real care that is actually happening,” lamented one nurse. “The nurses just don’t have time to do both and are choosing the data entry as the priority because employers demand it.”

“Patient satisfaction [scores], low reimbursement and increasingly sicker patient populations are creating unsafe patient care and work conditions for nurses,” added another respondent. “Administration is trying to run hospitals like retail business and patient care is suffering.” 

Another complaint was that BSN programs aren’t adequately preparing new nurses. “Now that BSN is the desired degree for nursing by employers,” one nurse remarked, “the BSN program needs to be revamped. It currently places too much emphasis on managing and not enough hands-on bedside care.”

Read the full survey report at   


Snapshot of California RNs in 2016

• Average age is 45

• 89.1 percent are women

• 67.4 percent are married and 52.0 percent have children

• 49 percent are white, 19.3 percent are Filipino, 9.5 percent are Asian or other Pacific Islander, 8.5 percent are Latino and 4.1 percent are black

• 56.6 percent have a BSN or higher degree

• 5.4 percent are nurse practitioners

• Only 11.7 percent have more than one nursing job and only 6.1 percent are employed outside of nursing

• 66.3 percent work in acute care hospitals, 8.2 percent in ambulatory care settings and 5.1 percent in skilled care facilities

• Staff nurses average 10.6 hours per day and 35.0 hours per week plus 2.6 hours per week of overtime

• Average one-way commute is 16.9 miles

Source: California Board of Registered Nursing, 2016 Survey of Registered Nurses.



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