Connect with us

Clinical Updates

Community nurses are stressed and overworked, concludes report

Community nurses are the “unsung heroes in the health service”.

Ian Snug

Published

on

district nurse applying bandage
Adobe

Community nurses deliver care in patients’ homes, supporting them to manage their health.

Heavy workloads, staffing shortages, and complex workloads are the cause of low morale among community nurses in Wales, a new report has revealed.

The study, commissioned by the National Assembly for Wales’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, examined the day-to-day challenges faced by community nurses.

Advertisement

It concluded that staff morale was so low due to heavy workloads, staffing shortages, and complex workloads that many nurses felt like they were working in an “invisible service”.

Many community nurses also complained about the “unacceptable” over-reliance on paper-based systems and the use of outdated technology.

‘Not valued’.

The committee made several recommendations including; investment in technology, promoting community nursing as an attractive career, providing better training opportunities, and addressing staffing levels.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales has said it welcomes the recommendations.

Christine Thomas, who represents nurses at RCN in Wales, said: “It’s not the job it used to be. Nurses are very pressured and they feel they can’t give holistic care.

“What concerns me is it’s not attractive to new recruits. I don’t feel it’s valued. There’s not the training, there’s not the ongoing professional development for them.”

Many nurses have reported similar pressures across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Staffing levels must be right.

Dai Lloyd AM, chair of the committee said: “We are proud of the work that community nurses do across the country, they are unsung heroes in the health service.

“We are concerned to hear from nurses about low staff morale and in some cases nurses are leaving the service as a result of stress and increased workload.”

“If we are to support individuals and their families to manage their health at home, avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, enable early discharges and help maintain people’s independence then we need a clear picture of what the community nursing situation is in Wales at the moment and investment in the service.

“For the service to improve and thrive we need to make sure that staffing levels are right, that nurses are provided with the mobile technology they need to do their jobs effectively and that community nursing is seen as an attractive career.

Acute Medicine

Hospital visitors and volunteers help to reduce nursing workloads, survey finds

Nurses believe a lack of visitors is often detrimental to a patients’ health and speed of recovery.

Chloe Dawson

Published

on

Patient with visitor in hospitla bed

Two in five hospital patients get no visitors and require additional support from the nursing team.

Nurses working in acute hospitals feel that patients without visitors require additional support from the nursing team, according to a survey by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS).

The survey also revealed that nurses believe a lack of visitors is often detrimental to a patients’ health and speed of recovery in a number of ways. These include; they are less likely to be mobile (43%), less likely to be stimulated through conversation (56%) and less likely to follow medical advice.

Advertisement

It is also estimated that around 37% are more likely to have a longer stay in hospital.

The RVS states that volunteers can step in and play a “vital role” in helping to reduce the nursing workload and freeing up staff for clinical care.

Over half of the NHS nurses questioned said a volunteer presence on ward was very important and that volunteers could help with patient care in a variety of ways. In particular, they referenced; providing non-medical support and assisting at mealtimes.

Double the number of volunteers in the next ten years.

Previous research published in a Kings Fund report also found strong support for volunteering among frontline staff.

With approximately 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies throughout the NHS in England, volunteers are becoming more important to ensure patient receive care in a timely manner.

Following the NHS Long Term plan asking hospitals to double their volunteers in the next ten years and the recognition of the help they can provide by the NHS nursing team, RVS is calling on more hospitals to make the most of volunteers to improve patient health.

Sam Ward, Director of Commissioned Services for the RVS, said; “With results showing two-fifths of patients may not see a visitor during their hospital stay, it is clear that more is needed to be done to support them.

“Volunteers offer a professional support service, encouraging mental stimulation, physical activity, and more that can play a significant role in both mental and physical recovery.

“It is vital that hospitals work together with volunteer service providers to make sure that patients across the country are able to access this support.”

 

Continue Reading

Acute Medicine

‘Harmful’ prescription charges for asthma medication should be scrapped, warn nurses

The majority of nurses want ‘harmful’ prescription charges for people with asthma to be scrapped.

Published

on

Asthma Medication Inhaler Nebuliser

Patients are at risk of life-threatening asthma attacks simply because they can’t afford their medication.

Hundreds of nurses called for ‘harmful’ prescription costs for people with asthma to be scrapped after seeing patients have an asthma attack or need emergency treatment because of the high cost of prescriptions.

A report published today by Asthma UK in collaboration with The Royal College of Nursing and Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, includes findings from a survey of more than 600 nurses in the UK as well as 150 other healthcare professionals including doctors, pharmacists, and paramedics.

Advertisement

The research highlights the harmful impact prescription charges are having on people with asthma, putting them at risk of life-threatening asthma attacks because they can’t afford their medication.

Nurses reported patients borrowing inhalers from their friends, relatives or even their own children because they couldn’t afford to buy their own – putting them at risk of taking the wrong medication, or the wrong dose.

‘An outdated and unfair policy’.

One healthcare professional told Asthma UK that she had found the money herself to pay for her patient’s prescription because she was worried about them being unable to afford their life-saving medication.

A majority of nurses surveyed (92%) want ‘harmful’ prescription charges for people with asthma to be scrapped.

Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK and a qualified nurse, said:“It’s really worrying that nurses who are working so hard to help their patients stay well are seeing people with asthma suffer because of an outdated and unfair policy. It is high time the Government took action and urgently reviewed asthma prescription charges so that people with asthma aren’t put at risk of avoidable but potentially life-threatening asthma attacks. No one should have to pay to breathe.”

‘Only making their condition worse’.

Wendy Preston, Head of Nursing Practice at the Royal College of Nursing said: “It cannot be acceptable that some people with long-term conditions are missing out on their vital medication because they cannot afford it.

“Nurses see the impact of this every day of the week and know what happens when people do not take their vital medication.

“This will only make their condition worse and they will end up needing further treatment adding additional pressure the health and care system.

“It is time that there is equity with other long-term conditions such as diabetes where prescription charges are exempt.”

Asthma UK is urging people with asthma, nurses and other healthcare professionals to join its Stop Unfair Asthma Prescription Charges campaign and sign its petition to end prescription charges.

Continue Reading

POPULAR