Nurse Stress: 5 of the Biggest Issues Nurses Face Today

Updated on June 23, 2020

In a healthcare environment, nurses are crucial. They provide care and comfort for people all over the world and yet, don’t receive any praise or credit. Being a nurse is rewarding, but the employment position also comes with big issues. Stress is a major factor of the job as nurses have to deal with all kinds of problems, from low staff numbers to finding better paying positions. Below are just a few examples of what nurses are dealing with in today’s society. 


Hospitals continue to be short staffed around the United States, and nurses pay the price. When the number of nurses is far lower than patients in a facility, it makes the workload much larger. Surveys suggest that staff issues will only become a larger problem over the next few years. In today’s climate, the coronavirus has led to even larger shortages of staff members as nurses are becoming infected with the virus as well as a larger number of patients are being hospitalized. The stress of having to work harder and not being able to provide more time per patient can easily weigh on the mind of a nurse. 

Long Shifts

Because of shortages in staff members, nurses are often on longer shifts. Nurses often have to work overtime or extended hours which can cause more stress and fatigue. Nurses should be working no longer than 12 hours a day and 40 hours a week. However, shortages lead to much longer shifts and weekly hour rates, some at double or more. 

Low Paying Positions

While nurses are a value at every hospital, they often get the short end of the stick when it comes to pay. Depending on where you live, the pay for a nurse will vary. Nurses who want to make a higher wage often try to travel. By traveling to high-need areas, nurses can make much more and they get to live in new places. GIFTED Healthcare the best travel RN agency offers options for nurses in the US to find better paying positions. This option is one that young nurses often choose to do before starting a family because it is easier to travel without children. 

Workplace Hazards

This is a big one, especially now due to the coronavirus outbreak. Nurses have always faced hazards on the job from the flu and common cold to injuries and bloodborne pathogens. Now, the coronavirus is a problem. A large percentage of those who contract the deadly virus are healthcare workers. Personal protective equipment such as masks are hard to come by and have led to nurses having to reuse equipment, which is not ideal and a hazard. 


An unusual item on the list that many people might not think of is bullying. A large percentage of nurses in the workforce today are harassed or bullied by patients. This includes verbal abuse on the job and even physical abuse. Many nurses are harassed by patients who try to contact them through social media or other means. Bullying can also take place via co-workers. Some employees may be jealous of others or just troublemakers which leads to high stress for nurses taking the brunt of rude or unfriendly comments and actions. 

Nurses have a lot of stress to deal with on the job. It is a difficult profession to start but one that can be rewarding if you have the right employer and outlook. 

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