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COVID-19: surveys find nurses feeling ‘neglected and betrayed’

ICON study shows nurses' frustration over poor pay and lack of support during pandemic
A nurse stands outside a building looking despondent

ICON study shows nurses' frustration over poor pay and lack of support during pandemic

Inadequate pay and pressures of working on the front line have left nurses feeling neglected and betrayed, a professor of nursing has said.

Jill Maben, University of Surrey professor of health services research and nursing, was responding to results of surveys conducted as part of the ICON study.

Surveys reveal mental health impact of pandemic

First launched in early 2020, the study explores the impact of COVID-19 on nurses by asking them to share their experiences of working through the pandemic .

Over the surveys conducted so far, the study has found high levels of

ICON study shows nurses' frustration over poor pay and lack of support during pandemic

A nurse stands outside a building looking despondent
Picture: iStock

Inadequate pay and pressures of working on the front line have left nurses feeling neglected and betrayed, a professor of nursing has said.

Jill Maben, University of Surrey professor of health services research and nursing, was responding to results of surveys conducted as part of the ICON study.

Surveys reveal mental health impact of pandemic

First launched in early 2020, the study explores the impact of COVID-19 on nurses by asking them to share their experiences of working through the pandemic.

Over the surveys conducted so far, the study has found high levels of burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression among nursing staff.

Nurses have also revealed fears for their own and their families’ safety, and a lack of support from management.

Further surveys will be carried out among nurses

As a result of the findings, the ICON study has been extended after the University of Surrey secured nearly £60,000 of funding from The Colt Foundation.

The new surveys aim to assess the ongoing impact of the pandemic on nurses, and identify what support measures are helping, if any, and what more needs to be done.

Nurses who took part in the initial surveys are being asked to take part.

Overstretched nurses are ‘bearing the brunt of people’s frustrations’

Ms Maben said unprecedented demand on healthcare services and unfamiliar working conditions had contributed to a nursing workforce with increasing levels of poor mental health.

‘As we go into the second COVID winter, nurses are still feeling overstretched but now often feel neglected and betrayed as well, thanks to what they see as inadequate pay rises and the price of being on the front line,’ she added.

‘Their health has been affected and they feel they are bearing the brunt of people’s frustrations waiting for strained NHS services.’

Professor finds survey findings ‘heartbreaking’

Ruth Harris, professor in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College London, said the study aimed to share nurses’ experiences of the pandemic with as many people as possible.

‘It’s been heartbreaking to hear of their fears about safety for themselves and their families, dealing with so many patients dying and feeling abandoned by managers,’ she added.

The ICON study, led by the Royal College of Nursing’s Research Society, is a collaboration between academics and NHS staff from across the UK, including King’s College London, the University of Warwick, the University of Surrey and Cardiff University.


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