Poor pay and bullying see large numbers of nurses wanting to leave the profession

Nurses also said they felt inadequately represented on a national scale. Poor pay and workplace bullying are the two main […]

Matt Bodell
30 September 2020
Nurse gazing

Nurses also said they felt inadequately represented on a national scale.

Poor pay and workplace bullying are the two main reasons nurses are looking to leave the profession, according to a new survey.


A survey of 2,465 registered nurses undertaken by NursingNotes earlier this year reveals that an overwhelming majority (76%) of nurses have explored leaving the profession since January 2020 with around a quarter of this number (23%) having active plans to pursue a new career outside of healthcare.

When asked, the main contributing factors for those wanting to leave the profession were pay (56%), workplace bullying (21%), work-related stress or mental health issues (17%), and the pandemic (12%).

One nurse from the South East told NursingNotes as part of the survey;After 23 years as an intensive care nurse, I plan on resigning my NMC membership and starting my own business.”

“Enough is enough,” she added. “The pandemic saw us risking our own lives for not much more than minimum wage and claps.”


With an estimated 43,000 nursing vacancies in England alone, further recruitment and retention issues could see the health service on its knees amid a global pandemic.

A constant source of worry.

The survey echoed similar findings from recent reports by the King’s Trust and the Royal College of Nursing which warn

Nurses United UK, who are spearheading a campaign calling for a 15% pay rise for all NHS staff, say they have witnessed the concerns first-hand.

Anthony Johnson, the lead organiser for the grassroots group, said; “In every staff room I have ever been in pay is a problem and a constant source of worry.


“I have also seen the way that our lack of compassion for our nurses, has undermined our staffing and pushed great nurses out of the jobs we loved. I’m one of those nurses who struggled to work within teams that tried to stop me from making a difference – which is why I became a nurse.”

“This is why I helped to found Nurses United so that we had a place to pushback and challenge the system which we have allowed to develop.”

The same survey also revealed that the vast majority of nurses (92%) also felt the profession was “inadequately” represented on a national scale by healthcare unions.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments