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Full survey results: Annual health check on nursing 2014


Find out the full results of our latest annual survey of the views of the nursing profession.

Nursing Times surveyed nearly 750 nurses between 24 November and 5 December for our annual survey.

The questions covered a range of issues including health and wellbeing, staffing and workforce, and current affairs such as ebola. A big thank you to all our readers that took part in the survey.

Here are the full results from the survey:


Health and wellbeing

1. Are you happy with your work-life balance? 
No  54.32%


2. Does your employer attach a high enough priority to staff health and wellbeing? 
Yes  25.98%
No  60.16%
Don’t know12.38%
Not applicable1.48%


3. Have you taken more or less sick leave in the past 12 months than you would normally take?   
Significantly more11.77%
A bit more16.24%
No change54.94%
A bit less6.09%
Significantly less10.96%


4. Have you felt under pressure from your organisation to come to work when you were feeling unwell this year? 
Yes  52.09%


5. If a colleague is off sick are their shifts covered:  
Always  5.42%
Most of the time21.41%
Never  17.89%


6. Do you regularly work more than your allotted hours? 
Yes, by 1-5 hours per week  44.11%
Yes, by 6-10 hours per week21.79%
Yes, by 10-15 hours per week  8.39%
Yes, 15+ hours per week  5.14%
No, I usually work my allotted hours17.59%
No, I always work my allotted hours2.98%


7. Are you working noticeably longer hours than this time last year? 
Yes, more    41.06%
No, about the same   54.88%
No, less4.07%


8. Have you found you have suffered the side-effects of work-related stress, such as physical or mental health problems in the past year? 
No  36.45%


9. Do you have time and facilities at work to eat a healthy, balanced diet? 


10. Do you consider yourself to be: 
Very overweight10.90%
About right39.97%
Underweight  2.96%


11. Do you do muscle-strengthening and/or moderate/vigorous aerobic activity that raises your heart rate: 
Three or more times a week  16.11%
Once or twice a week24.70%
Less than weekly26.98%


12. Do you smoke? 
Yes, cigarettes or similar tobacco products  10.23%
Yes, e-cigarettes1.75%
No, I gave up recently2.96%
No, I gave up ages ago27.05%
No, I’ve never smoked58.01%


13. If you are male, how many units of alcohol do you drink per week? 
So many I’ve lost count  2.63%
22-30  6.14%
None, I don’t drink37.72%


14. If you are female, how many units of alcohol do you drink per week? 
So many I’ve lost count  1.06%
None, I don’t drink   30.36%


Workforce and staffing

15. How would you rate staffing levels on your ward or team? 
We are always short-staffed38.52%
We are short-staffed more than once a week  27.93%
We are short-staffed once a week9.63%
We are short-staffed once a fortnight  3.85%
We are short-staffed once a month5.46%
We are rarely short-staffed  13.32%
We are never short-staffed  1.28%


16. Do you feel you are currently under more or less pressure at work than you were this time 12 months ago? 
Significantly more   48.42%
A bit more29.75%
About the same18.51%
A bit less1.42%
Significantly less  1.90%


17. Do staff on your ward or team have sufficient time to provide safe and adequate handover to colleagues? 
Yes, always  15.53%
Yes, mostly54.21%
Yes, but rarely  18.12%
No, never12.14%


18. Which length of shift do you normally work? 
Always 8 hour shifts51.95%
Always 12 hour shifts   21.27%
Mostly 8 hour shifts, with occasional 12 hour shifts  16.23%
Mostly 12 hour shifts, with occasional 8 hour shifts 6.82%
A roughly equal number of both 8 and 12 hour shifts3.73%


19. Has your ward, unit or team got more or less permanent registered nursing staff than it did 12 months ago? 
A lot more  1.95%
A few more  14.94%
The same   41.40%
Slightly fewer26.62%
A lot fewer   15.10%


20. How easy or difficult has it been for your ward, unit or team to fill vacant nursing posts over the last 12 months, in your opinion?       
It has been very easy to recruit new staff5.28%
It has been fairly easy to recruit new staff  18.56%
It has been fairly difficult to recruit new staff27.36%
It has been very difficult to recruit new staff   24.32%
It has been almost impossible to recruit new staff  8.32%
Not applicable16.16%


21. How easy or difficult has it been for your ward, unit or team to retain existing nursing staff over the last 12 months, in your opinion?     
It has been very easy to retain existing staff9.81%
It has been fairly easy to retain existing staff  25.24%
It has been fairly difficult to retain existing staff31.83%
It has been very difficult to retain existing staff15.92%
It has been almost impossible to retain existing staff  6.27%
Not applicable  10.93%


22. Have nurses from overseas been actively recruited by your employer to join your ward, unit or team over the last 12 months? 
Don’t know  16.56%


23. If you currently work in the UK, have you been tempted to nurse overseas yourself over the past 12 months? 
Yes, I’ve filled in the forms and gone0.96%
Yes, I’ve seriously considered it  12.52%
Yes, I’ve thought about it but not seriously16.53%
Not applicable14.61%


24. How best would you describe morale in your ward, unit or team over the past 12 months? 
Bad and getting worse33.60%
Bad and always has been7.52%
Bad but starting to improve  9.76%
Neither good nor bad  12.48%
Good but starting to deteriorate  25.28%
Good and always has been  9.60%
Good and getting better1.76%


25. What effect, if any, have the new rules on staffing transparency introduced by NHS England in June had on staffing levels in your ward, unit or team? 
They have resulted in staffing levels increase to a safe ratio to beds/patients2.42%
They have resulted in staffing levels increase but more are still needed for a safe ratio  12.12%
They have had a negligible impact, with staffing levels remaining the same    39.74%
They have resulted in staffing levels reduce because we were previously overstaffed1.13%
Not applicable  44.59%


26. Has the culture of your organisation changed over the last nine months with regards to raising concerns? 
It has improved significantly    5.60%
It has improved a bit22.24%
It has stayed the same52.80%
It has deteriorated a bit10.88%
It has deteriorated significantly  8.48%


27. Do you understand what is meant by the term “duty of candour” in terms of openness about errors and concerns? 
Yes   74.60%
No   10.00%
Not sure15.40%


Current Affairs        

28. Have you received training from your employer yet on how to react if you believe a patient may have ebola? 
Yes, I have received training  21.59%
No, but it’s due to take place soon  13.31%
No, I’ve not heard anything about it  48.05%
Not applicable  17.05%


29. Have you received training yet in how to protect yourself while treating a patient with confirmed or suspected ebola? 
Yes, I have received training    16.94%
No, but it’s due to take place soon13.03%
No, I’ve not heard anything about it51.30%
Not applicable18.73%


30. Do you believe your organisation is prepared for the coming winter? 
Yes, it will be business as usual23.82%
Yes, but it will be touch and go  21.56%
No, we will struggle to provide a safe service all of the time    26.58%
No, we will be unable to provide a safe service all of the time10.21%
Don’t know  9.40%
Not applicable8.43%


31. What is the biggest challenge facing nursing in the NHS at the moment? 
Short staffing in the hospital sector  18.29%
Short staffing in the community sector11.04%
Staff recruitment and retention  18.62%
Poor pay  18.62%
Winter pressures4.94%
Poor media portrayal   4.12%
NHS financial pressures  24.38%


32. How do you view the national media’s portrayal of nurses and nursing at present? 
It’s overly positive, we are not all ‘angels’2.93%
It’s about right, hitting a balance between negative and positive stories   28.99%
It’s excessively negative, we are not all bad   59.45%
Don’t know  8.63%


33. Do you think media portrayal of nurses and nursing has changed over the past 12 months? 
Yes, it’s got better  4.56%
Yes, it’s got worse47.56%
No, it’s stayed the same37.95%
Don’t know9.93%


General info

34. Which of the following best describes your role? 
Student nurse  3.65%
Healthcare assistant   4.64%
Staff nurse32.50%
Ward sister/charge nurse  13.93%
Clinical nurse specialist/nurse practitioner28.36%
Senior nurse manager or leader16.92%


35. How old are you? 
26-35  8.20%
Over 5516.72%


36. Which country do you work in? 
Northern Ireland  1.66%


37. Which of the following best describes the setting you work in? 
Acute hospital trust51.11%
Community services26.11%
Mental health trust     8.52%
GP surgery8.15%
Clinical commissioning group0.93%
University or academia3.89%
Government or other national agency  1.30%

Readers' comments (2)

  • Very interesting. The statistic I find most worrying is the breakdown by age. Over 66% of nurses are due to retire within the next 10 - 15 years. Those aged 35 and under only account for a little over 12% of the nursing workforce. Does this mean fewer people are being attracted to the job? Or starting and giving up? Or not able to afford to do it, if they have families, or put off by the sheer volume and depth of the academic work that degree level nursing involves? That leaves 21% of nurses who may still be nursing 20 - 25 years from now. It's a bit worrying that the figures for departing nurses are so much higher than the figures for arriving ones, although of course this may change over the coming 20 years.

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  • Maybe that's another of the reasons the British Government has changed the retirement age to 66 (so far and counting) for us Baby Boomers? I just hope and pray my health lasts until then.
    I began nursing in my late twenties when there were no hoists, glide sheets and, basically, no Policy led manual handling guidelines which ensure patient handling is much safer for the patient and far less physically straining for nursing staff.
    This aspect of nursing is much improved.

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