Recent coverage of the crisis in nursing has not made for comfortable reading. Research suggests that the NHS is short of 42,855 nurses, with those leaving the workforce citing a range of reasons, including pay cuts, low morale, understaffing, uncertainty over Brexit, and poor work-life balance. Could resilience help nurses weather the storm?
What the figures say
More than 17,000 nurses under the age of 40 left the NHS in 2016/17. The RCN has claimed that the NHS is ‘haemorrhaging’ nurses at a time of unparalleled demand for health and social care services, describing the situation as a ‘perfect storm’ that is engulfing nursing in the UK.1 On an even darker note, a 24% increased risk of suicide amongst female health professionals has been recorded by the Office of National Statistic (ONS),largely explained by a high suicide risk among female nurses.2
Workplace stress, exacerbated by staffing shortfalls, is likely to be playing a major role. The NMC provides evidence that working conditions are a major factor in nurses leaving the profession.3 In short, there is a multitude of stressors in nursing practice, ranging from the emotional labour of the need to be compassionate to work overload and a lack of resources.
Is developing resilience the answer?