More than half of nurses feel pressured to work when sick

According to a 2015 NHS staff survey, the majority of nurses also work unpaid extra hours

Almost two fifths of NHS nurses in England experienced work-related stress last year while 60% felt pressured to work while sick, according to the latest NHS staff survey.

Just over 71,000 nurses at 297 NHS organisations took part in the 13th annual survey, which was carried out in the last quarter of 2015 by NHS England, with a grand total of 299,000 NHS staff members taking part.

An analysis of the nursing figures shows that 39% of nurses experienced stress because of work, while 83% said they worked an average of five hours or more above their contracted hours each week.

Only 37% said communication with their senior managers was good, an improvement of 4% on the survey two years ago. 

Close to one fifth (19%) of nurses experienced physical violence from patients, while 2% experienced it from staff, the survey found.

And more than one third (36%) experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, while one quarter experienced the same treatment from staff.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the figures relating to working unpaid overtime or while sick prove ‘there can be no doubting the commitment’ of healthcare workers.

He added: ‘With demand for NHS services rising, and with ever-shrinking resources, our dedicated NHS workforce is under incredible stress trying to cope.’

Nurses were more likely than unlikely to recommend their organisation as a place to work or receive treatment.

They were also more likely to be satisfied with the quality of care they were personally able to deliver.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the survey shows ‘encouraging signs’, but also ‘continuing warning signs’.

He added: ‘The best NHS employers know that staff wellbeing and high quality patient care are two sides of the same coin.’

Read the NHS 2015 Staff Survey here

Read RCN's opinion of the NHS 2015 Staff Survey here

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