Things get worse for nurses as staffing levels drop and stress rises, finds survey

A new survey has highlighted how COVID-19 exacerbated existing issues. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse for the […]

Matt Bodell
21 August 2020
Stressed nurse

A new survey has highlighted how COVID-19 exacerbated existing issues.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse for the nursing profession as staffing levels get worse and stress levels rise, according to a new survey.

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The most recent Royal College of Nursing member survey revealed the huge passion but incredible pressure nursing staff have been feeling throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

The survey, completed by almost 42,000 members, explored the impact of working on the frontline and how the crisis has changed the professional lives of nursing staff.

It shows that while the vast majority (88%) of respondents remain passionate about the nursing profession, there are significant issues.

A massive three quarters (75%) of nurses reported an increase in their own stress levels with a third (33%) saying they worked at a higher level of responsibility during the pandemic.

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Around a third (38%) also said that staffing levels worsened during the pandemic despite the majority (62%) also saying that patients become more complex.

The pandemic is not over.

The impact on wellbeing has been considerable with more than half saying they’re worried about their own physical (58%) and mental health (52%) and 91% saying they’re concerned about the wellbeing of those in the nursing profession generally.

A huge 73% said improved pay would make them feel more valued while 50% said better staffing levels would contribute to this.

Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said: “The pandemic has shown nursing in a light never seen before. Whether in hospitals, care homes or in the community, the entire health and care workforce has stepped up to care for patients and support their colleagues.

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“The public clapping on their doorsteps must reverberate all the way to the heart of government. We now need to see action. That is why we continue to call for a significant and early pay rise.

“The pandemic is not over, but unless there is improved pay and working conditions, we risk many of our members leaving the profession at a time when the nation needs them more than ever.”

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