exhausted nurse

Over half of nurses consider leaving their jobs

The Royal College of Nursing has published its findings from their employment survey which has found that six in ten nurses are considering or actively planning to leave their current role, equating to 60.2 percent of the respondents.

The survey received nearly 10,000 responses consisting of nurses, HCAs, students, and nursing associates.

The survey also found that the main reasons for contemplating leaving were feeling undervalued and being under too much pressure in the workplace.

Only two thirds of nurses were able to take their full holiday entitlements over 2021 due to staff shortage and increased pressure throughout the pandemic.

The findings also show that a large proportion of nurses are working over their contracted hours with nearly three quarters reporting that they had done so for at least one day in the working week, and 17.4% saying they worked additional hours every shift.

As well as high pressure and staff shortages, over half of the respondents reported that low pay levels were another one of the main reasons for thinking about leaving their job.

NHS nursing staff were found to be more likely to consider or actively be looking to leave their position than NHS commissioning bodies or GP practices.

Table showing stats of nursing staff leaving jobs

Source: RCN: Employment survey 2021

General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen, Royal College of Nursing said: “As the pandemic moves into a third calendar year and now, we face another Covid wave, our members talk vividly about the toll of the pandemic and years of understaffing.

“Nursing undoubtedly has the potential to be a hugely rich and satisfying career, but with tens of thousands of nursing jobs unfilled the situation is unsustainable.  All nursing staff need funded and supported time out – not limited to annual leave – for all staff, regardless of which setting they work. 

“Likewise, where staff have taken time off due to illness, rest and recuperation must be central to decision-making about their return to work. Proper mental and psychological support services need to be made available.”  

NHE March/April 2024

NHE March/April 2024

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