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Study: Nurses and midwives highly stressed

News story

Nurses and midwives are typically highly valued by the general populace for the work they do, however a new study points to increasing levels of workplace dissatisfaction and stress among this critical group of healthcare professionals.

Nurse with patient
A new study has highlighted increasing workplace stress for nurses and midwives.

Research Fellow Dr Fenella Gill from the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Associate Professor Peter Holland from Monash Business School and HDR student and teaching associate Tse Leng Tham from Monash University are part of a research team examining workplace wellbeing for nurses and midwives.

The team conducted a national survey – ‘What Nurses & Midwives Want: Findings from the National Survey on Workplace Climate and Well-being’ – of 3000 nurses and midwives, and found that 32 per cent were actively considering leaving the profession. The survey also found that a quarter of nurses and midwives reported they were either likely or very likely to leave the profession.

Results from the survey, which is issued every three years, and was previously conducted in 2011 and 2013, have consistently demonstrated increased work demands on nurses and midwives, however the results from the 2016 survey point to very significant increases in stress related to the work environment.

Survey respondents cited demanding workplaces, where they are required to work very hard and very quickly, a lack of support for flexible work arrangements, a failure of management to properly handle cases of physical, verbal and sexual harassment and intense workloads. 71 per cent of respondents felt they often had more work than they could do well.

The results from the survey point to an imminent shortage of highly skilled nurses and midwives unless steps are taken to alleviate workplace demands and related stressors. The majority of the workforce is aged 47 years, or older, and is set to retire within the next decade.

Read the full survey [.pdf 4.21MB].