A new report, commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing and published by the Kings Fund, has called for improvements to working conditions for nurses to boost the retention of the workforce.
The report, titled ‘The Courage of Compassion’, says that new minimum standards and a review of 12-hour shifts are needed to address exhaustion and burnout amongst nurses. The report also says that staff stress, absenteeism and turnover in the profession has reached ‘alarmingly’ high levels, worsened by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The report also recommends improvements to shift patterns and culture in the workplace, enhanced team-working, increased support for staff and better learning opportunities.
Responding to the report, Susan Masters, the RCN’s Director of Nursing, Policy and Public Affairs, said:
“Safe staffing and appropriate pay are key priorities related to wellbeing that we are campaigning on. Today, there are approximately 50,000 registered nurse vacancies in the NHS in the UK, impacting patient safety, and morale and wellbeing in the profession at a time when these are crucial.
“At present, really ambitious and well-qualified young people are really struggling with gruelling shifts, staff shortages and poor pay. They feel they have no choice but to leave a career they should love – at a huge cost to patient care. Politicians and officials need to grasp the nettle before we lose even more.”
Liaison Workforce Managing Director, Judith Shaw, says: “We know that staff burnout is a real concern within nursing, especially in the current environment, and continue to develop our services to allow NHS organisations to manage their workforces through the use of people analytics and integrated technologies for better worker flexibility, thus reducing some of the pressures on nursing teams. We welcome feedback from within the NHS in order for us to continue to do this, as we continue to aim to support all NHS workforce teams.”
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