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Nurses tell of workload and money pressures fuelling exodus from the profession

Registrants discuss factors forcing many to quit, as NMC reveals extent of departures
Illustration shows nurse walking towards an exit – as nurses respond to NMC report about increasing numbers leaving profession

Registrants discuss factors forcing many nurses to quit, as NMC reveals scale of departures

Nurses have said they are overworked, underpaid and underappreciated after figures revealed the numbers leaving the profession is at its highest level in four years.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council revealed more than 13,000 nurses, midwives and nursing associates have left the register in the past six months, with pressures of the pandemic a likely factor.

‘Numbers quitting nursing is no surprise – we’re treated horrendously’

Nurses used Nursing Standard’s Facebook page to warn that the numbers quitting the register could increase.

Registrants discuss factors forcing many nurses to quit, as NMC reveals scale of departures

Illustration shows nurse walking towards an exit – as nurses respond to NMC report about increasing numbers leaving profession
Picture: iStock

Nurses have said they are overworked, underpaid and underappreciated after figures revealed the numbers leaving the profession is at its highest level in four years.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council revealed more than 13,000 nurses, midwives and nursing associates have left the register in the past six months, with pressures of the pandemic a likely factor.

‘Numbers quitting nursing is no surprise – we’re treated horrendously’

Nurses used Nursing Standard’s Facebook page to warn that the numbers quitting the register could increase.

One nurse said: ‘Underpaid, underappreciated and overworked – it does not surprise me that more people are leaving the profession when they are treated so horrendously.’

Another posted: ‘I've been 12 years qualified and it’s not nursing anymore. People don’t work as a team. If I didn’t have a mortgage, I would be following them.’

Others were demoralised that ‘clap for carers’ during the height of the pandemic was not followed by a pay rise. One said nursing was the ‘worst-paid degree qualification in the UK’.

One nurse predicted departures from the profession could escalate, suggesting: ‘I dare say it'll be even more when mandatory COVID jabs are brought in for all front-line NHS staff.’

NMC register leavers and joiners

Between April and September 2021, 13,945 nurses, midwives, and nursing associates left the register, compared to 11,020 during the same period the previous year. The 2021 figure represents a four-year high.

Despite this, the NMC register still grew by 1.8% between April and September 2021 since the same period in 2020.

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said the regulator would explore reasons for the spike in registrants leaving, in its annual survey of leavers, to be published in spring 2022.


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