Tuesday, March 21

Almost half of nurses have considered leaving the profession with the pandemic

Almost half of Spanish nurses have thought at some point to leave their profession due to the physical and mental exhaustion suffered during the pandemic and a third would not choose these studies again, according to the largest survey to date in the profession, carried out by the Council General Nursing with the participation of 19,300 people.

The results show that 67.5% of these professionals have suffered from anxiety; 88.5% stress, 33% depression and 58% fear and fear, some “shocking and worrying” data that show a much higher affectation than that of the rest of the population and their “work hardship”, he explained in the presentation ceremony of the study its president, Florentino Pérez.

Close to half of the professionals (48%) have suffered from Covid-19 and, of all of them, 14.5% have already been infected two or more times. Its incidence far exceeds that of the general population, around 21%.

Overall, more than 84% of nurses have been emotionally and mentally affected by the coronavirus health crisis, especially those who work in ICUs – where there is a much higher mortality rate than in other areas-, followed by emergency and primary care.

The survey was conducted between January 25 and February 1 among 19,300 professionals, the majority (60%) with 16 or more years of experience and from the public sector (85%).

28.4% state that they would not enroll in this career again, a percentage that reaches 30% in the case of those professionals who work in hospitals and ICUs. And of the 9.3% who are in a position to take early retirement, 63% express their desire to do so. In absolute terms, around 15,000 nurses who, meeting the requirements to retire earlier, even if it means a reduction in their pension, would be willing to do so.

This x-ray of the profession reflects that reality is “very crude” and the lack of social recognition contributes to this. “Nurses have gone from recognition to total oblivion. We are in an unsustainable situation and it is causing something unthinkable” due to the vocational nature of the profession: abandonment, according to Pérez.

Regarding the need to increase the workforce to respond to care needs, the majority of those surveyed (94%) agree that the number of nurses on the workforce must be doubled to adequately care for patients. On average they believe that where there are 3 nurses, there should be between 4 and 6.

On the other hand, the study shows that 16.5% of nurses have been forced to request sick leave due to anxiety, stress or mental exhaustion -especially in the socio-health area (19.1%)-, to the that are joined by those derived from contagions.

Attention to Covid continues to dominate an important part of the activity of the profession to the detriment of the rest of pathologies and patients. Thus, 79.3% affirm that their health care has to do with Covid patients to a greater or lesser extent at the end of each day: 27.1% dedicate almost completely (most of their daily work) and 52 .2% part of their tasks to this type of patient, and only 20.7 of the professionals say they have little or no relationship with the coronavirus.

“Radiography of the professional and emotional situation of the nursing profession” also analyzes the different working conditions with respect to variables related to the work environment and it is verified “clearly the indignation of the nurses with each one of the different aspects because none of them manages to approve on a scale of 0 to 10, with most being below a four.

Of all the aspects that have been asked, the best valued, although it does not reach the pass either, is job stability (4.89 out of 10) followed by shifts (4.51); while in the rest of the aspects the scores are much lower: conciliation of family life (2.97), recognition of the professional career (2.92), workload (3.35), salary (3.37 ) and development of specialties (2.28).

According to Pérez, “nurses have been denouncing for decades the working conditions they have to endure with precarious contracts that even last for single days, rotations for all kinds of clinical services, very low salaries, loss of purchasing power for a decade and high care burdens for having one of the lowest nurse-to-patient ratios in Europe”.

For this reason, Pérez has announced “unprecedented” mobilizations at the national level, still pending date, because “we are tired of sterile tributes and good words.” “We want real facts, improvements in our labor rights. It is time to act” to put an end to the unstable labor regime.