At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey healthcare facilities were already battling staffing shortages, which were exacerbated in 2020, according to a March 2023 report from New Jersey's largest healthcare worker union, Health Professionals and Allied Employees.
Since 2019, nearly one-third of nurses in the state have departed from bedside jobs. Of those who remain, 72 percent report considering a departure.
Ninety-five percent of nurses who have been working for five years or less have considered a departure, while nurses point to poor staffing, burnout and stress as the top causes of nurse departures.
While the nursing industry recommends a 1-2 nurse-patient ratio, New Jersey regulations only require one nurse for every three patients, according to the report.
"This should be a wake-up call, not just to these healthcare corporations, but to our legislators and regulators. Deep into the third year of a global pandemic that has shaken and changed every corner of our society, we must do things differently," Debbie White, RN, president of HPAE, said in the report.