NHS nurses are too busy to care for patients properly, research shows

From The Guardian: One in three hospital nurses are too busy to relieve patients’ pain, give them their medication on time or talk to them and their families, research reveals.

Fifty-three percent of nurses fear the quality of care patients receive is suffering because they cannot do everything they need to do during their shift, according to a survey of 30,000 nurses.

And nurses are being left responsible for the care of as many as 25 hospital patients at a time, even though official guidelines say that to ensure patient safety it should not be more than eight.

The findings, compiled by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), paint a picture of nurses so busy in often understaffed wards that many are having to leave some patients’ care needs unattended to.

Staff shortages are so acute that some patients are even being left to die alone, with no nurse present in their final moments, the survey found.

Thirty-six percent of respondents said a lack of time meant they had to leave necessary tasks undone. They included changing the patient’s position often enough for their safety and comfort, helping them with their dental health and completing records of patients’ care.

53% of nurses said they felt sad or upset that they could not provide the right standard of care. “I feel like I’m spinning plates, except the plates are patients – that to me is the worst feeling. A feeling of no control. Going from crisis to crisis continuously is so incredibly stressful,” one nurse said.

Another said: “I drove home from work sobbing today, knowing that the patients I cared for didn’t get even a fraction of the level of care I would consider acceptable. I would be devastated if my family or friends were in the hospital I work in, as there are just not enough staff to go around.”

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

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