Results of the working conditions survey for members

 Nicky Hughes 17 Jul 2020

Nicky Hughes, Associate Director of Nursing (Employment Relations), RCN Wales, shares some of the findings of the recent member survey regarding working conditions during COVID-19

Another busy week for everyone as we slowly move forward to the ‘New normal’ whatever that looks like in the workplace, our communities and our homes. Each week brings its challenges and benefits and I am sure the opening of hairdressers has made some people’s week as we plan to get rid of dark roots – myself included!

We are keen to share with you the headline results of our recent member survey, so I thought I could write about that this week.

Firstly, may I thank those of you who took time out of your busy schedules to complete the RCN members survey on working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have had an amazing 42,000 responses from members across the UK which was our best survey response ever. Although, 73% of responses were from those working in the NHS there was a good spread of members working in social care and the independent sector, but also those working in areas such as prisons and GP surgeries.

One of the most concerning findings of the survey is that there has been a sharp increase in nursing staff thinking of leaving the profession. I personally find this a sad reflection of how nurses feel at this time. All nurses that I come into contact with are proud to be part of the profession and always show commitment and dedication – something must have really gone wrong for nurses to be considering this.

In Wales, more than half of the respondents cited pay as a major factor for wanting to leave.  Also, 46% of nursing professionals said they don't like how they were treated during the COVID-19 crisis and 42% said they would leave a job they love due to low nurse staffing levels.

Of the almost 2,000 members who responded to the survey in Wales, three quarters said improved pay would make them feel more valued. Also, that their pay should reflect their level of responsibility and expertise.

Investing in the nursing profession must be the top priority in order to protect patients. The pandemic has shown the amount of public support for nurses and carers but we now need to demand fair pay and improved staffing levels which will benefit the NHS and the independent sector. Nurses and carers are health and social care's most valuable resource.

The Government needs to step up to reward nurses for what they do and also invest in staffing to ensure safe and conducive working environments that are safe for both patients and staff and within which nurses and carers want to work.

If you would like to know more about the RCN Wales safe and effective care campaign and the implementation of the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act please see our Safe and Effective Care webpage  

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the survey and what can be done to improve working conditions for nurses and carers Please tweet me – @nichughes1 – or email

Nicky Hughes

Associate Director of Nursing (Employment Relations) RCN Wales

Nicky has 30 years experience of working in the NHS in the specialities of inpatient acute medicine and the community setting, where she managed frontline services such as District Nursing, Prison Nursing, and those caring for the homeless and asylum seekers. In addition she commissioned care from the nursing home sector.

Page last updated - 17/07/2020