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COVID-19: redeployment training is non-existent or inadequate, nurses reveal

The first of three workforce surveys, led by the RCN Research Society, reveals failings in redeployment training and shows the emotional toll on nurses of the pandemic

Picture shows partial view of face of woman wearing mask. COVID-19 redeployment training falls short, nurses say in the first of three surveys on the effects of the pandemic on the workforce
Picture: iStock

Redeployment training for COVID-19 has been non-existent or inadequate so far during the pandemic, a healthcare workforce survey has revealed.

The findings are from the Impact of COVID-19 on the Nursing and Midwifery workforce (ICON) study led by the RCN Research Society.

The survey, conducted in the period 2-14 April, received 2,600 responses from nurses working in health and social care in the UK as well as nursing students, nursing associates, trainee nursing associates, healthcare support workers, healthcare assistants and midwives.

As well as concerns about training, the survey results demonstrate the emotional toll the pandemic is having on nurses.

Most nurses worry about risk to family members

According to responses to the survey:

  • 92% of nurses are worried about risks to family members.
  • 74% feel their personal health is at risk.
  • 62% said their redeployment training was either non-existent or inadequate.
  • 52% said they lacked confidence about COVID-19 infection control or had received no training.
  • 33% reported severe or extremely severe depression, anxiety or stress.

Some respondents said they were not paid for working over their contracted hours and more than half said they had missed four or more shifts due to isolation.

The ICON study is in three parts. This first survey aimed to obtain nurses’ views on conditions before the COVID-19 peak.

The second survey will take place when it is felt the peak of the pandemic has been reached, and the final survey will be in the aftermath.

‘Healthcare employers should provide a psychologically safe workplace’

ICON project lead Keith Couper said the responses show the urgent need for research to develop and evaluate interventions in support of individual members of staff.

Dr Couper, who is assistant professor in emergency and critical care at the University of Warwick, said: ‘Healthcare employers should advocate self-care and provide a psychologically safe workplace where individuals can openly discuss their concerns’.

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has also launched a survey to gather information on the COVID-19 pandemic from general practice nurses in England. The findings will be released in May.

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