Our finding that charity NurseAid is actively fundraising for the first time in its 97-year history to deal with a rise in applications also speaks volumes.
Even those nurses who are not locked in a day-to-day struggle to make ends meet are vulnerable to sudden changes of circumstances – such as new shift patterns. Equally, those nurses who are helping to deliver new models of care, by committing to work in the community are finding themselves financially penalised. Both these facts are something that those wrapped up in planning service reconfiguration would do well to remember.
But despite these troubling findings could, ironically, things be improving for nurses – at least in relative financial terms?
The latest version of the global financial crisis is finally slowing inflation in some – if not all – products and services, and the emergency interest rate cut will come as blessed relief to many nurses struggling with steep mortgage repayments. What’s more, while those in banking, construction and retail will fear for their future employment, nursing looks like a safe port amid the economic storm, especially as it boasts pensions that are not linked to the plunging stock markets.
Unfortunately things are not that simple. While the fire may be reducing in intensity, the frying pan is ready and waiting.
Around half of NT’s readers are the main breadwinners in their household. For those – and others making an important contribution to their family’s take-home pay – the pressure to maximise their earnings is only likely to increase.
Then there is the impact a recession is likely to have on those nurses care for. The downturn – marked by higher unemployment – will be felt just as surely in an increase of poverty-related conditions and the tidal wave of mental health problems triggered by rising financial insecurity.
Whatever the nature of the economic crisis, nurses will continue to bear the burden both at home and at work.