New Survey of 33,000 Healthcare Workers: 83 percent of Respondents Say Their Facilities Are Understaffed, Endangering Patient Care and Worker Safety

New Survey of 33,000 Healthcare Workers: 83 percent of Respondents Say Their Facilities Are Understaffed, Endangering Patient Care and Worker Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

MAY 5, 2022

OAKLAND, Calif. –  In a new survey of more than 33,000 frontline allied healthcare workers, respondents report crisis-level staffing shortages at facilities across the state. The results detail California’s healthcare staffing crisis, its devastating impact on working conditions and patient care, and the failure of employers and the government to adequately address worker shortages.

Allied healthcare workers – such as medical assistants, respiratory therapists, emergency room workers, licensed vocational nurses, surgical technicians, lab assistants, and housekeepers – make up more than 60 percent of staff in medical facilities in California.

The survey found that 83 percent of respondents report severely or somewhat understaffed departments. 65 percent of respondents said they are aware of care being delayed or denied as a result of short staffing. The full survey report is available upon request.

“Short staffing means longer waits, less time to spend with patients, and even denied care. We all want to give our patients the quality care they deserve, but many of us are burnt out after so many years without enough staff. The pandemic just made everything worse,” said Gabe Montoya, an emergency department technician from Southern California. “These results clearly show that healthcare workers feel patient care is not the top priority for management at these medical facilities.”

Survey results include the following:

  • 83 percent of respondents said they work in severely or somewhat understaffed departments
  • 74 percent of respondents said they always, frequently, or sometimes lack proper time to care for patients
  • 65 percent of respondents are aware of care being delayed or denied as a result of short staffing
  • 48 percent of respondents said they would be hesitant or definitely would not take their family to get care at their facility
  • 41 percent of respondents have ignored or skipped safety protocols because of short staffing

“Even before the pandemic hit, frontline healthcare workers have been sounding the alarm on short staffing and calling for solutions to this crisis,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West. “The stress and toll of the past two years have caused many to leave the industry and California is facing a massive shortage of healthcare workers. The purpose of this survey is to increase understanding of the impact of the staffing crisis on patient care and healthcare workers’ well-being so frontline workers, employers, and government can come together to address it.”

About the survey:

The survey of 33,140 allied healthcare workers from more than 100 medical facilities across California was conducted by SEIU–United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) from March 14, 2022, through April 22, 2022. The bilingual (English/Spanish) survey featured questions related to staffing at the respondent’s healthcare facility and asked each respondent to answer based on their experience on the job during the past year.

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Media Contact: Renée Saldañamediarelations@seiu-uhw.org

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected caregivers. Learn more at