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Undervalued, unsupported and stressed: why 1 in 3 nurses is looking for a new job

RCN employment survey finds pressures and lack of management support are often to blame
Nurses looking for a job

RCN employment survey finds pressures and lack of management support are often to blame

One in three nurses is looking for a new job, with many feeling undervalued and unsupported by their managers, a major new survey reveals.

The RCN's annual employment survey also found 54% of nursing staff feel too much of their time is spent on non-nursing tasks, such as paperwork.

Morale is low and staff call in sick because of stress

Of the 8,307 RCN members who responded, 37% said they were seeking a new job, with the main reasons cited as feeling undervalued, experiencing stress and feeling unsupported.

One band 5 urgent care nurse in Scotland said they often came on shift to find nursing colleagues crying because they cannot cope with the pressure.

Management only care about numbers, not about safe and

RCN employment survey finds pressures and lack of management support are often to blame

One in three nurses is looking for a new job, with many feeling undervalued and unsupported by their managers, a major new survey reveals
Picture: Alamy

One in three nurses is looking for a new job, with many feeling undervalued and unsupported by their managers, a major new survey reveals.

The RCN's annual employment survey also found 54% of nursing staff feel too much of their time is spent on non-nursing tasks, such as paperwork.

‘Morale is low and staff call in sick because of stress’

Of the 8,307 RCN members who responded, 37% said they were seeking a new job, with the main reasons cited as feeling undervalued, experiencing stress and feeling unsupported.

One band 5 urgent care nurse in Scotland said they often came on shift to find nursing colleagues ‘crying because they cannot cope with the pressure’.

‘Management only care about numbers, not about safe and effective care – morale is low and staff call in sick because they simply cannot face coming back in or cope with the stress,’ they added.

A band 5 staff nurse in a care home in north-east England told the survey their pay didn't match their role and responsibilities.

Yet some respondents said their job search was down to looking for promotion or a new challenge.

Discouraged from reporting verbal and physical abuse from patients

The RCN survey also found 65% of nursing staff who responded had endured verbal abuse from patients or relatives in the past year, while 29% had experienced physical abuse. 

Respondents reported feeling that staff were expected to ‘just get on with it’ and that reporting every incident would be fruitless.

A band 5 mental health nurse from Northern Ireland said: 'Verbal abuse is very regular and nurses are discouraged from reporting it by management.'

‘Required reading’ ahead of the general election

The RCN said the findings should be ‘required reading’ for all politicians ahead of the general election.

RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘At its best, nursing gives people a sense of identity, pride, achievement and a huge sense of fulfilment.

’But our findings show that the pressures on staff are becoming so overwhelming that we risk losing more nurses from the already depleted workforce.’


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