The survey by Monash University researchers, Associate Professor Peter Holland, Dr Brian Cooper and Dr Belinda Allen from the Department of Management comes at a time when hospital beds have been closed and many elective surgeries has been cancelled as Victorian nurses are involved in industrial action and the Victorian state government is rumoured to be seeking to cut nursing budgets and reduce the ratio of registered nurses on wards.
“The research indicates serious underlying problems in the nursing profession. We found that 15 per cent of nurses are likely to leave the nursing profession during the next year. Alarmingly this figure rises to 38 per cent when nurses are also unhappy with their rewards and benefits.” Associate Professor Holland said.
The survey found that stress was another key factor identified as to why nurses intended to leave the profession. Nurses frequently cited unmanageable workloads due to a lack of nurses as the main cause for their high stress levels. The results showed nurses felt they were unable to provide the highest quality of care due to high patient loads and inadequate staffing.
The research also found nurses felt undervalued by their employers with 72 per cent stating that they did not feel their employer valued their contributions at work.
“The survey showed that nurses think management are making decisions on specific areas with no knowledge or training in that area or without consultation,” Dr Belinda Allen said.
“Many felt that when there was consultation it was lip service only; they were asked for their imput but suggestions were not implemented. This point reflects the general perception of nurses that they are underpaid and undervalued.
“The findings suggest the government should take a ‘quality’ strategy and recruit and retain skilled nurses rather than a cost-cutting strategy that focuses on an increasing role for low-skilled health assistants.”