TUESDAY, Dec. 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — There is no evidence that large numbers of nurses left health care or hospital practice during the first 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Dec. 7 in Nursing Outlook.

Linda H. Aiken, Ph.D., R.N., from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a repeated cross-sectional study involving 151,335 registered nurses in New York and Illinois before and during the pandemic and a subset of 40,674 staff nurses from 357 hospitals. The authors sought to examine whether hospital nursing care shortages are mainly due to the pandemic or due to hospital understaffing and poor working conditions.

The researchers found that in the first 18 months of the pandemic, there was no evidence that large numbers of nurses left health care or hospital practice. Significantly better outcomes were reported during the pandemic for nurses working in hospitals with better nurse staffing and more favorable work environments prior to the pandemic.

“The good news from the study is that hospitals reported by their nurses prior to the pandemic to have evidence-based nurse staffing and good work environments fared significantly better during the pandemic in terms of their nurses reporting less burnout, less job dissatisfaction, less intent to leave, and better quality and safety of patient care,” Aiken said in a statement.

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