Comment

NHS staff sickness data reveal the toll emotional labour takes on our mental health

Let’s not allow mental health problems to become the new back pain for nurses
exhausted community nurse sits slumped in her car

Let’s not allow mental health problems to become the new back pain for nurses

It used to be a common complaint among nurses – after years of lifting and bending – that our lower backs suffered. Indeed, my generation of nurses would often shrug off back pain as an ‘occupational hazard’ and find our new friends at yoga classes or the chiropractor.

Hoists, slipmats – such were our dreams made of, and it was ‘1-2-3 and lift’. The expense and nurses lost to illness or disability required a response and duly it was addressed. Now however, we seem to be equally phlegmatic about another consequence of the intolerable expectations placed upon the NHS staff: namely, poor mental health.

Stress and depression are

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