In the U.S., nurses commonly work in a hospital or ambulatory setting. In 2019, roughly 60 percent of registered nurses were employed by hospitals, while 20 percent of nurses worked in an ambulatory service. Mean annual wages highly depend on the nurse’s specialty. In 2020, mean annual wages ranged from 31.7 thousand U.S. dollars for orderlies to 189 thousand U.S. dollars for nurse anesthetists. During that year, the average annual income of registered nurses in the U.S. was 80 thousand U.S. dollars. Over the last ten years, their income grew by 1.67 percent.
A survey conducted in December 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic, revealed that most nurses have been exhausted and overwhelmed. The turnover rate of registered nurses was 18.7 percent in 2020 and reached over 20 percent in some specialties. The average time for hospitals to recruit a registered nurse exceeded three months, and even more for registered nurses specialized in the operating room or critical care. Due to extensive layoffs and furloughs that came with the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals struggled to recover in face of staff shortages. In 2021 a survey revealed that shortages are heavily expected in clinical roles, with 83 percent naming nursing staff.