Survey: Half of nurses considered changing jobs during pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has accelerated nurses’ desire to get out of the field, according to a fresh study by the Finnish Nurses Association (FNA).

According to the survey of more than 2,300 nursing professionals, more than half of respondents said they had thought of changing jobs during the height of the pandemic.

One-third said that they had previously considered switching to a different line of work before the pandemic. Six percent said they planned to act on their dreams of a change of pace, while one in five said they were on the fence about the question.

“If more than half of respondents thought of finding a new job during the coronavirus epidemic it is clear that we cannot have the same kinds of conditions during a second wave: nurses and their immediate supervisors need to be listened to and supported more,” FNA chair Nina Hahtela said in a statement.

Respondents attributed their exhaustion to causes such as the changes resulting from the spring state of emergency. Nearly one in four had already left their jobs, most often to work on a different ward, in an intensive care unit, or in monitoring, accident and emergency, samples or phone counselling.

Additionally, 40 percent of respondents described themselves as exhausted or extremely exhausted after a demanding spring and summer. Another 40 percent said that they occasionally felt worn out.

A large majority — 73 percent — said that they did not feel worn out before the pandemic struck. However 27 percent of nurses said that they’d felt exhausted even before the public health crisis.

On the job safety at risk

However 29 percent of nurses who had moved to different departments described the orientation they received for their new positions as poor or very poor.

Meanwhile half of respondents said that they felt their safety at work had been jeopardised either occasionally or frequently as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic. Nearly one in four said that their on the job safety was put at risk on a weekly basis or more often. Another 25 percent said that there was insufficient protective gear.

Respondents said that last spring left them with the impression that many workplaces seemed to think that the state of emergency gave them the right to overlook workplace safety as well as their health and safety obligations.

“Responsibility for the health and safety of personnel working in the field must be taken seriously. All of these areas need to be in order: guidance, training and orientation, protective gear, breaks, hours of work, adequate staff, occupational health, the right to sick leave and time off and the right to manage your own work,” said FNA development manager Liisa Karhe.

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