According to a Royal College of Nursing poll, over half of nurses are considering resigning owing to bad working conditions (RCN).
In an October study of over 9,500 nurses, it found that 57% are considering or actively intending to leave their positions.
Nurses, midwives, and nursing assistants are members of the RCN, a recognised trade union.
Other causes included exhaustion (60%) and unable to provide patients with the care they desired (47 per cent).
From one patient to two, three or four at the start of 2021, said Emily Huntingford, an intensive care nurse in London.
“I felt awful leaving work because I didn't do enough for my patients,” she said.
“We enter the profession to help others. It was difficult to leave feeling that you didn't do enough for that patient.”
Because they don't feel respected, Ms Huntingford says she has seen "colleagues go in droves."
It has been tremendously demeaning and demoralising to be neglected by a workforce that has gone above and beyond — we've helped roll out the vaccine scheme, supported in intensive care, we've been at the forefront of this pandemic.
‘This isn't worth it, we're exhausted,' my colleagues have said. That was before Omicron had crossed our minds.
“I just don't know how we'll survive.”
Most nurses reported they had to work when sick and that they went over their allotted hours at least once a week.
Unexpectedly, 15% of respondents were requested to postpone vacations, according to the RCN study.
“I'm hearing more about my peers in other professions getting raises, incentives, working from home, on vacation,” Ms Huntingford added.
“It is difficult to hear since I would never have those prospects if I stay in the NHS. Maybe I'm asking too much, but I want the government to pay nurses fairly.”
RCN proposal to NHS Pay Review Body on NHS worker wages will be informed by the report.
Pat Cullen, RCN general secretary and CEO, asked for improved working conditions for nurses.
As the epidemic enters its third year and we face another Covid wave, our members clearly describe the pandemic's toll and years of understaffing.
With tens of thousands of nursing jobs unfilled, the scenario is untenable. No matter where they work, nurses deserve paid time off – not just yearly leave.
“In the case of sick leave, rest and rehabilitation must be prioritised when deciding whether to return to work. Mental and psychological support services must be provided.”