Surveyed nurses say staffing shortages are hurting patients’ health

Nurses say they are feeling a sense of “moral injury,” as the number of patients in need of care doesn’t align with the time available to do the work.

woman in scrubs takes another woman's blood pressure

Nurses are alarmed by their low staffing numbers in Michigan hospitals. A new poll surveying nurses finds that 71% often feel over-assigned to patients. They say understaffing has led to medication errors, an increase in deaths and a larger number of nurses quitting.

Meanwhile, in the same report, hospitals claim there are no nurse understaffing issues and that patients have not died from the related concern.

 “Nurses say that it is more dangerous to be a patient in a hospital right now than they have seen in the last six years.” — Kate Wells, reporter

Listen: How are nurses feeling amid expressed staffing shortages?



Kate Wells is an award-winning journalist currently covering public health and the COVID-19 pandemic. She says that patient deaths have significantly increased due to understaffing.

“42% of nurses polled know of a Michigan patient who died because the staff was stretched too thin — that’s double what a similar poll found in 2016.”

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.
  • Sam Corey
    Sam Corey is a producer for The Metro on 101.9 WDET. In that role, he goes out in search of fun and interesting stories for radio. He enjoys salsa dancing — and actual salsa.