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“NHS crisis: Nurse morale hits rock bottom” – Did you read it?

Thinkstock | Creatas

Thinkstock | Creatas

The UK’s Mirror recently reported on a lack of nurse morale overseas. A poll of almost 6,000 National Health Service (the publicly-funded healthcare system in the UK) staff revealed that a mere four percent think leader David Cameron is doing a good job. Yikes!

Now, less than a week after the Mirror released their findings, the Independent is reporting that the NHS has voted to strike over pay. The article states:

“Members of Unison, which represents 300,000 nurses, healthcare assistants, porters and other staff, voted for strike action over pay by a two-thirds majority.

“Nine other unions, including Unite, GMB and the Royal College of Midwives are balloting for strike action, with results due in the coming weeks.”

Just how bad is nursing morale in the United Kingdom? Another poll in the Mirror revealed that 72 percent of nurses say they are “unable to spend enough time with patients to offer a safe level of care.” Janet Davies, Royal College of Nursing executive director, said the results of the surveys are “deeply alarming.”

She continued, “This is yet more evidence that the morale of the nursing workforce is at rock bottom. Nursing staff are the backbone of health care, but it seems like the government does not value them or the work they do. Nurses are overstretched and underappreciated. Their working conditions are getting worse, with some being put on lower grades, and many say they don’t have enough time to spend with their patients. The implications for the health service are serious.”

More findings from the story:

    • 50 percent of nurses felt that there had not been not enough cover to provide safe levels of care for the patients they had been tending on their last shift.
    • 73 percent say work conditions have gotten worse since 2010. Only five percent have noticed improvements.
    • 60 percent of nurses describe morale in their profession as poor or very poor, and 29 percent rate it just okay.

Nurses also note low wages, staff cuts, long hours and the decline in their reputation among the general public (likely influenced by these other key issues).

Read the full stories over on the Independent and Mirror and then comment below. Have you been keeping tabs on nursing satisfaction overseas, or are you focusing on your own happiness? And are you happy at work? What’s the morale level like in your workplace? And what could be done to make it better?

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4 Responses to “NHS crisis: Nurse morale hits rock bottom” – Did you read it?

  1. Katie Manzione

    The nurse to patient ratio is definitely in need of serious review. I understand that skilled facilities are operated to make money, and are a business, but when the business practices compromise patient safety and staff well being, I wish things would change. I have at least 20 patients to care for. Some are long term, some are short stay, usually post op. I feel like I just keep them from dying. I don’t have time to talk to them, to give them any sort of extra attention. Problems only get dealt with on an urgency basis, not when they’re small. And heaven forbid they’re just scared or worried. I DON’T have time. And it’s so, so, so hard to purposely walk out on someone you know you could help, because you have 19 other people to provide basic care to. (and sometimes that isn’t even getting done.)

    • Chantal Barney

      I agree with everything you just said! I have between 30-33 patients per shift, mixed between long term care and skilled. I understand the skilled care charting is how they get paid and of its importance, yet I rarely have time for the patient, it’s so sad to not be able to do the little extra things that you know means so much and seems to heal them on the emotional level quicker.

  2. bestunderstress

    I started my nursing career as a CNA and I can honestly say I think it should be a requirement for all RNs to work as such for at least a month. Your CNA/aide is your backbone and if you don’t appreciate them or take advantage, shame on you, and you are in for a horrible shift. Good luck.

  3. Mercy RN

    The patients are sicker then ever and administration turns a cold shoulder to our concerns. Training is poor, we are back to sink or swim on new procedures. They keep combining specialty units and expecting us to just pick up the new skills as we go when we are already understaffed and overworked. And the new computer charting, a nightmare which takes us away from the patient who needs us most. No time to do teaching or give good explanations on how patients are to take care of themselves at home and we send them home way to soon, especially the elderly. I have been a nurse for 35 years and no longer would recommend this profession. I am counting down until retirement. It is sad, what we were, and what we now are.

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