Low morale among community nurses in Wales – report

Nurses say they feel ‘invisible’ and under-resourced in terms of technology and staff
Nurse experiencing low morale

Nurses say they feel ‘invisible’ and under-resourced in terms of technology and staff

Picture: Bubbles

Heavy and complex workloads are leading to low morale among community nurses in Wales, according to a new report.

The study, from the National Assembly for Wales’s health, social care and sport committee, says nurses working in the community feel unsupported, ‘invisible’ and lack the required technology to do their jobs – despite the growing need for their services. 

Increasing pressure on staff

‘Integration of health and social care has led to a blurring of roles,’ the report states, ‘with greater expectations on community nurses to meet the emotional and mental health needs of their patients, as well as the physical. 

‘It is, therefore, alarming to hear community nurses describe themselves as the “invisible service”.’

The impact of staff shortages 

The report highlights that retention and recruitment challenges in the specialty are further affecting community nurses’ ability to do their jobs effectively. 

The authors acknowledge that some good initiatives are being implemented by district health boards in Wales, but say there has been no national approach to the specialty. 

RCN Wales policy and public affairs officer Lisa Turnbull said: ‘Morale is quite low in community nursing, I think, particularly at senior levels, because of the tremendous pressure they’ve been under... and also the feeling of being invisible to the wider service.’

Call for investment and more promotion of community nursing

The report offers several recommendations to the Welsh Government, including:

  • An evaluation of the current workforce
  • Implementation of strategies to address staff shortages
  • Investment in training and technology
  • The promotion of community nursing as an attractive career

RCN Wales director Helen Whyley

RCN Wales director Helen Whyley urged the government to heed the committee’s recommendations, and said they highlighted the need for a ‘renewed vision’ for community care.

She added that, if enacted, the recommendations would provide a ‘positive direction for patient care’. 

Government is preparing its response to report 

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: ‘We recognise the important contribution that community nursing teams make in delivering care to patients in their homes.

‘We will consider the report’s recommendations and provide a response to the committee by the end of September.’ 

Read the committee’s report 

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