Almost half of nurses (46.5%) have considered leaving the profession as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its “devastating” effects on the health of the group, according to a macro-survey by the General Nursing Council.
The study Radiography of the professional and emotional situation of the nursing profession revealed on Monday that the 85% of nurses have had their mental health affected, with different manifestations: a third has suffered depression; six out of ten have suffered insomnia; and just over two thirds, severe episodes of anxiety (67.5%). In addition, 88.5% acknowledge having suffered stress and 58% fear and fear due to the pandemic.
““The pandemic has been the last straw for this profession”“
These data are the ‘side B’ of the impact of COVID-19 on the physical health of nursing professionals, who register a incidence of infections more than double that of the general population. About half (48%) have had the disease and, of them, 14.5% have been infected more times.
“The care overload, which the COVID-19 pandemic has meant for all of them, It has been the lace for this profession”stated the president of the General Nursing Council, Florentino Pérez Raya, during the presentation press conference, along with José Ángel Rodríguez, José Luis Cobos and Diego Ayuso, president, second and third vice-presidents and general secretary.
92% believe it is necessary to mobilize in an “unsustainable” situation
The results of the survey, carried out on 19,300 nurses during the first weeks of January 2022, show that the situation is “unsustainable” and “worrying”, especially among professionals in Intensive Care, Primary Care, Social Health and Emergencies.
46.5% have considered leaving the profession and three out of ten would not study for a degree again. Likewise, 63% of the professionals who could obtain the retirement they consider requesting it, even if their pension is diminished. According to the survey, 16.5% have also had to request leave due to anxiety, stress or mental exhaustion, being the socio-health area in which it has happened the most (19%).
Regarding their working conditions, the nurses rate their employment options with a fail. work and family reconciliation (with a 2.97 out of 10), the Workload (3.35), the recognition of the professional career (2.92), the salary (3.37) and the development of specialties (2.28). The most valued aspects are job stability and shifts, although they do not reach the pass either (4.89 and 4.51, respectively).
According to the data of the professional organization, almost all nurses (99%) does not feel recognized by the political class and does not trust that they will implement solutions to their problems, while the 92% believe that it is necessary to mobilize to demand measures against work overload, physical and mental exhaustion, working conditions, professional recognition and the effective development of nursing specialties, among other issues. 76% say they would participate in the protests.
Chronic shortage of nurses in the health system
In line with the presentation of the study, the representatives of the General Nursing Council have denounced this Monday once again the “chronic deficit” of nurses in the Spanish health system and their working conditions, “with precarious contracts that last even single days, rotations for all kinds of clinical services, very low wages, loss of purchasing power for a decade and high care burdens due to having one of the lowest nurse-to-patient ratios of Europe”, expressed Pérez Raya.
The solution, they believe from the General Nursing Council, is to increase the templates. 94% of those surveyed agreed with this opinion and believe that it should be increased between 33 and 100%, that is, where there are now three nurses there should be between four and six. Once again, primary care, intensive care and emergency services are the most deficient.
Finally, the group of professionals (97%) supports the claim of the organization of professionals so that nurses are included in Group A1 of the staff of the General State Administrationand not in the “unfair” A2 they are in now.