Community nurses are stressed and overworked, concludes report

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

Ian Snug
24 August 2019
district nurse applying bandage

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.

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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.

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Many community nurses also complained about the “unacceptable” over-reliance on paper-based systems and the use of outdated technology.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

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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.

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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.

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