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Pandemic has enhanced public image of nursing, poll shows

RCN survey to mark International Nurses’ Day shows new appreciation of nurses’ hard work and dedication
A logo for International Nurses' Day showing gloved hands making a heart shape.s

RCN survey to mark International Nurses Day shows new appreciation of nurses hard work and dedication

The public view of nurses work has improved, eroding old stereotypes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the spotlight on the profession, a poll suggests.

Commissioned by the RCN for International Nurses Day on 12 May, the poll obtained 1,752 responses from people across the UK, with 25% (446) saying their understanding of what nurses do has improved during the crisis.

Emotionally, physically and mentally taxing nurses deserve more pay and recognition

Of those who replied to this question, 32% (142) attributed their view to media attention, while 22% (98) said it was seeing nurses work during the pandemic.

The

RCN survey to mark International Nurses’ Day shows new appreciation of nurses’ hard work and dedication

A logo for International Nurses' Day showing gloved hands making a heart shape.s

The public view of nurses’ work has improved, eroding old stereotypes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the spotlight on the profession, a poll suggests.

Commissioned by the RCN for International Nurses’ Day on 12 May, the poll obtained 1,752 responses from people across the UK, with 25% (446) saying their understanding of what nurses do has improved during the crisis.

‘Emotionally, physically and mentally taxing – nurses deserve more pay and recognition’

Of those who replied to this question, 32% (142) attributed their view to media attention, while 22% (98) said it was seeing nurses’ work during the pandemic.

The college said images of nurses working to save people’s lives and coping with the emotional burden of losing patients, as well as their role in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, had helped to dispel the image of nursing as women’s work or vocational.

One person responding to the YouGov poll, conducted 23-25 April, said: ‘Coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a real eye-opener to how much work and effort nurses and all medical staff have to do to help people in need – real heroes of a modern time.’

Another said nurses deserve to be more valued: ‘I did not realise how much harder they have to work and how emotionally, physically and mentally taxing it is on them to do the job, and they deserve more pay and recognition.’

Work in the pandemic has ‘transformed perceptions’

RCN acting general secretary Pat Cullen said unfair stereotypes had inhibited efforts to improve the attractiveness of nursing as a career at a time of high nursing vacancies. According to the latest figures there are 36,214 nursing vacancies in England.

Ms Cullen said: ‘This poll suggests the amazing work that the public has seen nursing staff doing in the media during the pandemic has transformed that perception.’

RCN president Dame Anne Marie Rafferty said she was proud of nurses’ work during the pandemic. ‘Throughout it they have been at the heart of the response, innovating the ways they design and offer care, refashioning infection control practices, connecting patients with their loved ones and families. Nursing has been on display during the pandemic in ways the public has not seen before.’


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