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Study Unveils Balance of AI and Preserving Humanity in Health Care

Cross Country Healthcare and FAU's Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing have launched the fourth annual Future of Nursing Survey that reveals nursing perspectives on AI and compassionate care.

Nurse, AI, Health Care, Clinic, Hospital, Artificial Intelligence

The survey of more than 1,100 nursing professionals and students shows that more than half express reservations toward the integration of artificial intelligence and 38% question its potential benefits for the nursing field.


Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. (NASDAQ: CCRN), a pioneering force in tech-driven workforce solutions and advisory services, in collaboration with Florida Atlantic University's Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, released its latest research findings in the fourth annual installment of the Future of Nursing Survey: “Embracing Technology While Preserving Humanity.” Drawing insights from more than 1,100 nursing professionals and students, the study illuminates the intricate interplay between cutting-edge health care technologies and the enduring essence of compassionate care.

Survey results reveal a nuanced perspective among nurses toward the integration of Artificial Intelligence, with more than half expressing reservations and 38% questioning its potential benefits for the nursing field. While a minority recognize AI's capacity to enhance efficiency, documentation, research, skill development and patient monitoring, concerns linger regarding its perceived lack of empathy, job displacement risks, data security, regulatory complexities, and the learning curve associated with new technology.

“As we navigate the future of nursing, our compass must be set on a dual course: embracing technology to propel us forward while steadfastly preserving the humanity at the core of our profession,” said John A. Martins, president and CEO of Cross Country. “This delicate balance is charting the course for the future of the health care industry.”

In addition to shedding light on nurses' mental well-being, with notable concerns about staffing shortages and burnout, the study uncovered several key insights:

  • Despite the potential of telehealth services, 74% of nurses have never utilized them, citing doubts about their efficacy in delivering comprehensive patient care.
  • A significant portion of both employed (29%) and student nurses (41%) contemplate retirement or transitioning out of the profession in the near future.
  • An overwhelming 96% of nurses advocate for increased pay rates and incentives to attract and retain nursing talent.

“We are at the forefront of training future nurses to embrace the many opportunities that technology offers to improve patient outcomes and streamline time consuming day-to-day administrative tasks,” said Safiya George, Ph.D., the Holli Rockwell Trubinsky Eminent Dean and Professor, FAU Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. “As AI rapidly evolves in the delivery of health care, nothing will replace the human touch, empathy and compassion that is at the core of the nursing profession. Ultimately, current and future nurses will find a synergistic balance between technology, innovation, patient trust and the human connection.”    

Cross Country recommends four strategies for health care organizations to empower nurses in adopting AI:

  1. Transparency: Ensure nurses understand AI's impact and benefits to their roles through transparent communication from leadership, building trust and reducing apprehension as well as case studies to show how the technology works to move the profession forward.
  2. Training: Implement comprehensive training programs customized for nurses, demystifying AI and enhancing proficiency in AI-powered tools to foster confidence.
  3. Communication: Customize communication strategies to resonate with different nurse personas, addressing their unique concerns and preferences to promote AI acceptance.
  4. Feedback: Solicit and integrate nurses’ feedback into AI solutions, tailoring them to address specific challenges and improve the nursing experience.

“Ultimately, AI will not replace wisdom – intuition, empathy and experience. Nothing can replace the human experience,” said Martins. “However, AI has the potential to free time from routine tasks to help nursing practitioners focus more on their patients and health care outcomes.”

In 2021, FAU’s College of Nursing and College of Engineering and Computer Science launched two new combined programs in nursing and artificial intelligence and biomedical engineering. The innovative combined degree programs provide FAU bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) graduates with a leading edge in AI, which includes algorithms, pattern matching, deep learning and cognitive computing to learn how to understand complex data.

AI can be applied to almost every field of health care, including drug development, treatment decisions and patient care. Graduates of this FAU program can tackle complex problems that would otherwise be difficult or very time-intensive to address without AI. FAU BSN graduates who continue on to the master’s in science (MS) in the biomedical engineering program will use engineering principles to define and solve problems in biology, medicine, health care and other fields.   

“The future of nursing, augmented by AI, holds immense promise for driving positive change, elevating patient experiences, and broadening access to health care services,” said Martins. “While AI technology can offer efficiency gains to supplement staffing levels and reduce stressful working conditions, it is essential to the future success of health care that we acknowledge that skilled talent will remain indispensable to effective health care delivery and outcomes.”

Read the full results here: The Future of Nursing Whitepaper (crosscountry.com).

About the Survey: This national Cross Country Healthcare survey was conducted with 1,127 nursing professionals and students at health care and hospital facilities. The online survey was conducted between Jan. 18 and March 11, in partnership with FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing.

-FAU-