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Report finds NSW nurses and midwives leaving due to declining mental health

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New report finds more than half of NSW nurses plan on leaving their job due to mental health issues, with 15% experiencing symptoms of PTSD.

More than half of NSW nurses plan on leaving their role in the next five years, according to a new survey. A new report commissioned by the NSW Nurses and Midwives Union found that health professionals are facing significant challenges to their mental health and wellbeing at public hospitals across the state. The report’s findings were informed by a survey of almost 2,300 members of the NSW Nurse and Midwives Association (NMA). The age of the respondents ranged from 18 to 76, with the majority being females.

Findings:

About 15% of respondents to the survey were found to be experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A majority of respondents (58%) said they planned to leave their current nursing or midwifery position in the next five years. Of these, 22% said they planned to leave the entire industry, while 41% were undecided about what their next move will be. Of those intending to leave, more than one in three (37%) said they planned to move from their current role within 12 months. Better pay and workplace support, in addition to a reduced workload, were the most popular incentives that respondents said would keep them in the profession.

Early Career Strain:

Abuse from patients and staff, and feeling a lack of support from management, was reported most frequently by respondents in the early stages of their careers. Early-career respondents were also asked to work double shifts the most and expressed the greatest concern about their workload.

Industrial Action:

NSW nurses and midwives, through the NMA, have been locked in a years-long standoff with the state government to deliver stronger pay and conditions for health professionals. This has culminated in nurses and midwives undergoing industrial action, which has included hospital walkouts and protests outside NSW Parliament. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated wellbeing concerns for nurses and midwives, given higher workplace demands.

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