Editorial

Tell us about your well-being at work – and what can be done to improve it

Our Nursing Standard survey will be used to influence policymakers


Asking about a colleague’s well-being can help to address issues. Picture: John Houlihan

Has a manager ever said to you at the end of your shift: ‘You’ve had a difficult day – how are you doing? Are you okay?’

And if they have, did you feel you were able to answer honestly, which may have meant sounding ‘weak’ or lacking in that much sought-after quality of resilience?

Unfortunately, many nurses and nursing students do not get asked these questions or may not disclose they are struggling even when they are.

The Laura Hyde Foundation, set up in memory of a nurse who died by suicide, recommends that managers – and colleagues – ask the ‘okay?’ question.

The charity provides mental health seminars for NHS organisations and has ‘champions’ who raise mental health issues at management level. It also urges staff to ensure their colleagues take breaks.

All of this is great and places some of the onus on employers to act, which is something we hear calls for time and again from nurses.

The government must address nurses’ well-being

However, central to protecting nurses’ well-being – and ultimately patients’ too – is ensuring there are enough of them, their rotas are safely staffed and they can take breaks, all of which will help them to manage patient care demands.

These are actions that need to come from the top – from the government.

We now have an interim NHS People Plan, which is a start, and await the final recommendations with much hope.

Contribute to our survey

What can you do in the meantime? Provide us with examples of best practice by employers that addresses nurses’ well-being – as well as examples of practice that falls short. 

Nursing Standard has launched its second annual nurse well-being survey that captures your experiences, from being able to have a sip of water at work to wider workplace health issues.

Your feedback will help to provide policymakers with evidence of the impact of the immense and unsustainable pressures on nurses. It will also inform how we support you through the resources we provide and campaigns we run.

Anything we can do as a collective to protect nurse well-being is a fitting tribute to Laura Hyde and other nurses who really didn’t – or don’t – feel ‘okay’.

Complete our well-being at work survey 2019


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