Date Published: 6 September 2007

Research reveals low morale amongst nurses in Scotland

Research published today by the Royal College of Nursing shows that less than half (44%) of those nurses surveyed in Scotland feel their work is valued. Figures from an RCN employment survey, Nurses' Employment and Morale Scotland 2007, also indicate that the less than half (41%) feel proud to work for their organisation and only 26% think there are sufficient staff to provide a good standard of care.

When comparing their workload and pay to other professional groups, nurses overwhelmingly feel they come off worse in comparison. More than four out of five nurses see their workload as too heavy and their pay poor both in comparison to other professional groups and for the type of work they do.

The figures from the 2007 survey also compare unfavourably with those from the same survey two years' ago. In 2005, less than half (48%) of NHS nurses felt too busy to provide the care they would like; in 2007, this figure has risen to 56%.

Commenting on the research, RCN Scotland Board Chair Jane McCready said:

Nurses want to deliver high-quality patient care – that's why they came into nursing – but their workload needs to be addressed and nurses need to feel valued and fairly rewarded if they are to develop their roles for the benefit of patients.

These issues are also vitally important if we want to keep nurses in the profession. One in four NHS nurses will reach retirement age in the next ten years and if we can't keep the nurses we already have, this will put increasing pressure on delivering services and meeting the needs of patients. Workforce planning needs to recognise the age profile of the nursing workforce and also the vital contribution that nurses make to the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland. Employers also need to consider nurse morale in their future planning.

Source(s): Royal College of Nursing (RCN), UK.

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