More than half of hospital nurses consider quitting their job

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Jesenice – More than half the nurses working at internist and surgical units of eight Slovenian hospitals and two medical centres are thinking about changing jobs over the next year, a survey conducted by a nursing school has found.

The RN4CAST-study, conducted by the Jesenice-based Angela Boškin Faculty of Health Care, has also revealed that nurses are unhappy with their work environment and are overburdened with work.

Nurse forecasting in Europe (RN4CAST) is one of the biggest studies of nursing labour force, having been conducted in most European countries, and in a total of 40 countries worldwide, the faculty has announced.

As many as 51.7% of respondents in the Slovenian part of the study said they would quit their job at the hospital if possible.

Of those, nearly half (47.4%) would seek a new job as a nurse but not in a hospital. One out of ten (9.6%) would like to work outside nursing care.

Compared with surveys in other countries, Slovenia stands out in having one of poorest scored working environments by nurses and the highest average number of patients per nurse per shift in the EU.

At 15.56 patients per nurse the figure is more than double those in the Netherlands or Ireland (7) and much higher than in Greece (9.8) or Poland (10.4). The recommended norm is 4 patients per nurse at hospital internist and surgical units.

The study also looked at how the workload on nurses with a graduate degree links to patient mortality, based on data on 36,037 patients discharged from the surveyed hospitals in 2019 collected by the National Institute of Public Health.

The study confirmed the number of patients handled by one graduate nurse reflected in patient mortality as each additional patient per nurse resulted in a 6% increase in the likelihood the patient will die within 30 days after being admitted.

Presenting the results on Wednesday, the study’s head Brigita Skela Savič said they confirmed long-standing warnings from the nursing profession that much more needed to be done to improve working conditions.

“We urgently need to adopt staffing standards to make patient care better and safer, and regulate the professional status of nurses, including better opportunities for career development and training,” the official said.