Press Release

Nursing in Crisis: Hospital IQ Survey Highlights Significant Patient Care Challenges Due to Hospital Staffing Shortages

90% of RN respondents considering leaving already critically short-staffed nursing profession within one year if staffing issues, poor environments, patient flow challenges go unaddressed

NEWTON, Mass. – November 17, 2021Hospital IQ, the leading provider of predictive hospital operations and communications software, today released the key findings of a survey diving into the current realities of America’s nursing crisis and shortage, the harm it’s causing, and the future threats if unresolved any longer. The survey of more than 200 hospital registered nurses based in the U.S. sheds light into how and why frontline nurses remain locked in a state of constant crisis as they persevere through overwhelmingly stressful environments, unstable patient-to-nurse ratios and patient flow challenges. Results signal a potentially devastating loss of even more of the American nurse workforce starting as soon as the end of the year.

“What hospital leaders must take away from this data is that much of your nursing staff has an eye on the door,” said Shawn Sefton, Chief Nursing Officer and VP Client Operations at Hospital IQ. “So, we have to ask ourselves, what changes must we make to retain our people and then make those changes now. Because if not, the frightening reality is that come 2022, hospitals will reach a novel level of short-staffed, and it will have horrendous repercussions on our health system and the patients reliant on it. Nurses are looking to leadership for better solutions to manage operations across departments, keep the nurse-to-patient ratios manageable, keep beds available and help them do what they do best, which is caring for patients at the highest level of quality.”

Here are some of the key findings from the 201 U.S., hospital-based nurse respondents:
  • Vaccine mandates not the primary catalyst of shortages: 83 percent said their hospital mandates Covid vaccinations for staff. But only 30 percent of those whose hospital has a mandate said they are both opposed and are thinking about leaving their facility because of it. The remaining 70 percent either support the mandate, or are opposed but plan to continue working at their facility regardless.
  • Nurses considering leaving: 90 percent are considering leaving the nursing profession in the next year, with 71 percent of RNs that have over 15 years’ experience thinking about leaving as soon as possible or within the next few months.
  • Rising patient to nurse ratios: 45 percent of RNs said the estimated ratios across shifts are five or more patients to one nurse, with 84 percent of emergency room nurses and 96 percent of intensive care unit or critical care nurses saying they were 4-to-1 or higher.
  • Workloads increasing and staff decreasing: 72 percent said they were experiencing burnout prior to the pandemic. 43 percent said a shortage of technicians meant they were doing more tasks like cleaning units, procuring supplies and clerical duties as part of their workload. 39 percent said they were experiencing more serious mental health issues, like anxiety or depression, due to their increasing job demands.
  • Challenges with patients and families: 51 percent feel a “lack of empathy” from their patient’s family members. 47 percent said family members had acted “more entitled and demanding,” and 4 out of 10 said at least one family member they’ve engaged with had been “verbally or physically aggressive” with them.
  • Impact to patient care: Due to staffing shortages, 38 percent said they had seen an increase in patients returning for post-discharge secondary care, with another 38 percent saying they’d seen an increase in medication errors or delays. 36 percent have seen patients with acute conditions walk out of an ER because the wait for a bed was so long.

Read more with Hospital IQ's exclusive deep dive into the causes, effects, and solutions for this ongoing nursing crisis.

“Overwhelming workloads and mass burn out have plagued frontline nurses for years, and, it appears many have finally reached the breaking point,” said Teri Ridge, RN, Director of Clinical Solutions at Hospital IQ. “The survey shatters the notion that current nursing challenges are temporary, anomalous and contingent upon the pandemic. These systemic issues have been mounting, and Covid brought them to a head. If hospital leaders don’t listen to these nurses and respond with sustainable solutions now, they will very soon see significantly more of their already short-staffed nurse workforce leaving.”

Hospital IQ has been at the forefront of encouraging hospitals and health systems to rethink how operational excellence is achieved. Hospital IQ’s strategic partnerships with hospitals across the country have demonstrated how the utilization of predictive analytics, automated workflows and streamlined communications can enable sustainable improvements in operational efficiency, effective staffing and access. A smarter approach to operations will be a big part of hospital’s response to the nursing crises, as it fosters a better environment, more manageable workloads and higher satisfaction for nurses to empower them to stay well and deliver high quality care.

In the coming months, Hospital IQ will publish an eBook that details the survey findings more in depth, and gives hospitals and health systems actionable advice on addressing their staffing challenges now and being successful in staffing moving forward.

Hospital IQ commissioned the survey with Censuswide, and the survey was conducted in early November 2021.


About Hospital IQ
Hospital IQ provides an operations management software platform that uses artificial intelligence to anticipate and direct actions, enabling health systems to achieve and sustain peak operational performance to improve patient access, clinical outcomes, and financial performance. Hospital IQ's cloud-based software platform combines advanced data analytics, machine learning, and simulation technology with an easy-to-use, intuitive user interface to deliver optimized surgical resource alignment, patient flow, and staff scheduling capabilities. Hundreds of leading hospitals and health systems rely on Hospital IQ to help them make the right operational decisions the first time, every time. To learn more, visit

Sign up for the Hospital IQ Newsletter now for the latest company news, healthcare industry insights, and more.

Media Contact
Laura Bastardi
Matter for Hospital IQ