Nurses concerned by working conditions

Pharmaceutical Representative

America's registered nurses feel that deteriorating working conditions have led to a decline in the quality of nursing care, according to a national survey released by the Washington-based American Nurses Association.

America's registered nurses feel that deteriorating working conditions have led to a decline in the quality of nursing care, according to a national survey released by the Washington-based American Nurses Association.

According to the survey, which involved 7,299 respondents, 5,067 nurses cited inadequate staffing as a chief way in which the quality of care has declined, followed by decreased nurse satisfaction (4,445) and delays in providing basic care (4,262). The report also revealed that 75% of nurses surveyed feel the quality of nursing care at the facility in which they work has declined over the past two years, while 56% of nurses surveyed believe that the time they have available for patient care has decreased.

'Alarming' responses

In addition, more than 40% of nurses surveyed said they would not feel comfortable having a family member or someone close to them cared for in the facility in which they work. And over 54% of nurse respondents would not recommend their profession to their children or their friends.

"The responses we have received from nurses who took this survey are alarming," said ANA President Mary Foley. "With over three-quarters of respondents believing that the quality of nursing care has declined, and more than half saying their time for patient care has decreased, consumers should be concerned about the quality of healthcare they are receiving. And if four in 10 nurses would be hesitant for a family member to be cared for in their own facility, that sends a red flag to the American public that something is definitely amiss in our nation's healthcare facilities."

Patients first

The ANA Staffing Survey further found that nurses are putting their patients and their patients' safety ahead of their own personal and professional needs. When asked about what they have experienced in their workplace, a significant number of respondents indicated they are "skipping meals and breaks to care for patients" (5,711); feel "an increased pressure to accomplish work" (5,340); are "pressured to work voluntary overtime" (4,258); are not able to "attend continuing education programs due to an increased workload" (4,210); and suffer from "increased stress-related illness" (3,762).

In addition, 3,617 respondents said they feel "exhausted and discouraged" when they leave work, with an additional 3,222 recognizing that they are "discouraged and saddened by what they couldn't provide for their patients." Also, 2,928 of those questioned indicated that they feel "powerless to effect change necessary for safe, quality patient care."

Attracting new nurses

"Nurses know that they can't provide the best quality of nursing care under their current working conditions, or without being able to obtain continued training and education when they need it," said Foley. "Both patients and nurses deserve better."

Concluded Foley: "The bottom line is that we have to improve working conditions in order to enable older nurses to stay in nursing longer, and so that young people will be attracted into the profession." PR