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Exhausted and ready to leave

Exhausted and ready to leave

A significant proportion of nurses and midwives will leave the nursing profession over the next 12 months due to high workloads, says a new survey.

Monash University Department of Management conducted a national survey of nurses and midwives on behalf of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF).

The survey follows on from one conducted in 2011.

The latest results from 2012 show that 23 per cent of nurses and midwives are likely to leave the profession in the next year. This is an eight per cent increase on the last survey.

Also, 33 per cent nurses and midwives frequently think about leaving and 41 per cent will explore other career opportunities.

“More nurses than ever are contemplating leaving the profession due to heavy workloads and a lack of recognition and respect within their organisation,” says Monash University researcher Dr Belinda Allen in a media release.

An inadequate nurse-to-patient ratio is a key problem. “This concern is widespread across the profession – it is not just limited to staff in hospitals but also in mental health and aged care,” Allen said.

Also, almost half of the respondents said “they did not feel confident that senior management would treat them fairly or could be trusted to make sensible decision in relation to their organisation’s future”, Allen added.

“Many indicated senior management showed poor recognition and respect for nursing work, highlighted by the number of nurses being reduced first when budget cuts were required, thereby increasing the workload on the remaining staff.”

Some 23 per cent of nurses and midwives who responded to the survey are working double shifts, ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said in a media statement.

“Nurses and midwives are stressed and exhausted and are working under conditions which are putting safe patient care at risk. In one instance, two nurses on night duty caring for 23 mentally unstable patients,” Thomas said.

For more details, visit Monash University and ANMF.

Published on 12 September 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

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