Nurses have been warned to document their concerns on workload and workforce shortages in the wake of “worrying” results from a major union survey.
Less than 10% of nursing staff believe they can deliver “safe, dignified, compassionate care” all of the time with their current workload, according to the Unison annual nursing and midwifery family survey of more than 3,000 people.
The results were presented last week by Unison head of nursing Gail Adams at a seminar in Birmingham.
Ms Adams said: “I’m profoundly worried and concerned about how many [nursing staff] feel they cannot deliver safe, compassionate dignified care on their shifts.”
She told delegates they must “document and articulate” their concerns, as not doing so could potentially mean they were breaching the Nursing and Midwifery Council code of conduct.
“If you don’t have that audit trail of demonstrating you clearly articulated your concerns – and subsequently a complaint is made about the level of care – it’s very difficult…. to demonstrate you did everything you could to raise concerns.
“If we do not document when we are concerned about patient safety, if we don’t say ‘it’s wrong’, we almost become complicit and that sadly is what happened at Mid Staffordshire [Foundation Trust].”
The survey also revealed that a third of respondents thought the level of care quality they were delivering had worsened since this time last year.
In addition, the majority of respondents thought staffing levels had decreased since this March, which Ms Adams described as a “bad picture” that was “worsening”.
Meanwhile, only 44% of nurses felt their role was “respected”. Ms Adams suggested this was largely down to negative media coverage from cases such as Winterbourne View.
“Every time that there is an outcry in regards to standards of care it has a detrimental impact on the way the profession feels,” she said.