Overwhelming Pressure Driving A&E Nurses to Leave at Record Rates
Emergency nurses across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have warned the Royal College of Nursing congress that record numbers are leaving A&E departments as overwhelming pressure becomes normal all year round.
Emergency nurses at the Congress explained that newly-qualified staff in the department leave within a couple of years, citing burnout and insufficient training opportunities to deal with ever-increasing numbers of complex patients.
They went on to warn that though agency workers were being used to plug gaps, there were still many staff shortages and higher workloads, highlighting that a number of emergency departments had been downgraded or reported staffing shortages this year.
And with more and more patients using the service being compounded by issues concerning delayed discharge, nurses were being forced to look after patients in the corridor or in the backs of ambulances due to a lack of beds.
Chair of the RCN 's Emergency Care Association Janet Youd said nurses were leaving out of concern they are not being able to provide the quality of care that they felt was appropriate.
She also pointed out that budgets cuts to professional development training was resulting in less money to back fill shifts while nurses undergo training, calling this situation "a massive threat."
"The big problem with training is that when shifts are short, training gets pulled," she told the Nursing Times
. "We've got a spiral of deskilled nurses and people leaving - it's a positive feedback loop in overdrive.
"So with the untrained staff, you can't pull them because there is nobody to backfill them and then they leaving, so we recruit a whole batch of often newly qualified nurses and we don't give them any training - then we're suprised when they leave, because they're burnt out?"
"Because there isn't the funding for the backfill, nurses can't be released for training and then we have a danger situation with people who are unconsciously incompetent."