The public also said that skilled care and communication were the most essential attributes for nurses.
On International Nurses Day, the public has named nursing a society’s “top job” but have admitted they worry about getting safe care amid chronic staffing shortages.
Polling conducted by YouGov shows that the public believe nurses make the biggest contribution to society, as 16% of respondents selected the nursing profession, followed by doctors (12%) and teachers (12%).
When asked what skills or qualities are most important for nursing staff to have, the public said that skilled care and communication skills were among the most important.
One member of the public commented, “When I was in hospital with a broken ankle at the start of the pandemic. The care was amazing, including care from nursing assistants. Staff were regularly working 12 hour shifts without a break. Their standards, commitment and professionalism was 100%.”
Too few nurses.
However, it’s not all good news for the profession, as the public are blowing the whistle on chronic nursing shortages.
With a shortage of tens of thousands of nurses in the UK, more than a quarter (28%) of the public are most concerned that they may not get the required care when needed.
Concerning, seven in ten (70%) of the public think there are too few nurses to provide safe care to patients.
Official figures suggest there are around 40,000 registered nursing vacancies across the NHS in England alone. A recent analysis indicates that a pre-election pledge to boost the number of nursing staff is having no “substantial impact”.
Poor pay and working conditions are commonly attributed to the profession’s struggle to recruit.
Clinical excellence, compassion and dedication.
RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen said: “The public knows that nursing staff go above and beyond in all they do for patients and those in their care. Our people always defend and champion safe patient care and that is what is being recognised on Nurses’ Day.
“It is on the public’s behalf that we remind politicians everywhere again today that a fully-funded workforce plan is a major step in keeping our health and care settings safe. They must begin to take responsibility for the current situation and turning it around.
“Today is a celebration of nursing staff’s clinical excellence, their personal compassion and genuine dedication. I encourage everyone to share stories on the ’Best of Nursing’, be it from hard working staff on our wards, in surgeries, in the community, in social care and everywhere else.”