article

Survey of UK nurses and midwives’ highlights their concerns about health, training and workload during COVID-19

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

A new survey published today highlights the concerns nurses and midwives in the UK have about COVID-19 and the risks it poses to their physical and mental health, as well as the health of their families.

Respondents also reported training for staff redeployed to front line care was inadequate or non-existent. These results show there is an urgent need to provide support for the health and wellbeing of staff, and to ensure they have access to ongoing training.

The ICON study, led by the Royal College of Nursing Research Society steering group, is a collaboration between King’s College London, University of Warwick, the University of Nottingham, Cardiff University, University of Plymouth, University of Surrey and St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

It is a longitudinal survey to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the UK nursing and midwifery workforce. The survey is being undertaken at three time-points: prior to COVID-19 peak, during the COVID-19 peak, and in the recovery period following COVID-19. The results from each point are being reported in real time, so the findings could be used to inform workforce strategies within the NHS and social care. This summary concerns the early results of the first survey (prior to COVID-19 peak).

The first survey was open for responses between 2-14 April 2020. All members of the UK nursing and midwifery workforce were eligible to complete the survey, including registered nurses, registered midwives, student nurses, healthcare support workers, nursing associates, and trainee nursing associates. The survey was distributed by social media, the Royal College of Nursing, Nursing and Midwifery Council, and other key professional organisations.

2,600 members of the nursing and midwifery workforce participated in the survey and provided complete or near-complete data.

Initial findings include:

  • 74% feel their personal health is at risk during COVID-19 due to their clinical role.
  • 92% are worried about risks to family members during COVID-19 due to their clinical role.
  • Almost one-third (33%) respondents reported severe or extremely severe depression, anxiety or stress.
  • Of those being redeployed within the NHS, 62% either reported that their training was either non-existent, or inadequate.
  • 52% respondents had worked over their contracted hours on their last shift- two-thirds of these respondents will not be paid for their additional work.
  • 25% disagreed that correct PPE was always available (with only 44% agreeing that it was available)
  • 52% were either lacking in confidence regarding COVID-19 infection control and prevention training that they had received or had received no training.
  • 26% respondents had needed to self-isolate, of which 37% did not have personal symptoms and 64% missed four or more shifts due to self-isolation.

Commenting on the key implications for the nursing and midwifery workforce, Dr Holly Blake, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Nottingham said: “These early findings demonstrate the impact of covid-19 on nurses and midwives, with many feeling unprepared due to lack of access to training or essential equipment. Stress, anxiety and depression are common, with around one third reporting these mental health impacts to be severe. There is a clear need to provide ongoing training and psychological support during and after the outbreak.”

The ICON team acknowledges support and advice from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Trainee Emergency Research Network CERA study team, on which parts of this study are based.

Follow-up surveys will be advertised on social media - please follow @RCNResearchSoc for updates.

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Holly Blake from the School of Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham, at Holly.blake@nottingham.ac.uk

Charlotte Anscombe - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Email: charlotte.anscombe@nottingham.ac.uk
Phone: 0115 748 4417
Location:

Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Quicklink fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at Jubilee campus. For further information please contact a member of the Press Office on +44 (0)115 951 5798, email  pressoffice@nottingham.ac.uk

For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter

Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

More news…

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
C Floor, Pope Building (Room C4)
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798
email: pressoffice@nottingham.ac.uk