As part of our project Nursing Minds, C3 has conducted surveys with 248 respondents about their experiences in nursing and the intersection of nursing and mental health. These survey results will help us develop a toolkit that will connect UK nurses with resources to support their mental health and wellbeing. A toolkit is one aspect of this project (in addition to interviews with nursing leaders around barriers to policy changes) and is part of C3’s efforts to acknowledge the nursing mental health crisis in partnership with the Burdett Trust for Nursing. Below are survey highlights and our plans for incorporating this feedback into our Nursing Minds project.
The majority (89.1%) of respondents were female. The largest age group to respond was between 41-50 years old (with 78 participants or 32.5% falling in this category). The majority of respondents (67.35%) work either in general practices or in the hospitals, with a significant number of respondents also working in community health locations. 211 out of the 248 respondents identify as English / Welsh/ Scottish / Northern Irish / British. 7 participants were Irish. The majority of respondents work with adult populations.
153 of the respondents worked non-shift work, with 70 working shift work and 9 working other types of hours. Many of the respondents (103) replied that they often work more than their contracted hours. The majority of the respondents work more than their contracted hours, with 38 participants noting that they “always” worked more than their contracted hours.
Survey participants rated their mental health an average of 6.3 out of 10 stars. Some issues which were cited as “very much” affecting the nurses and their mental health include fatigue, stress, COVID-19, and anxiety, menopause, poor sleep, and depression.
In terms of perceived barriers to improving mental health, 139 Nurses (56.05%) cited “lack of time” as a significant barrier, with 136 respondents listing this as one of their main concerns. “Lack of energy” also was cited by 124 nurses as a large barrier, and “lack of support” cited by 91 nurses.
When asked if they felt that their employers cared about their mental health, the nurses surveyed had an average response of 2.9/5, with 1 being “not interested at all” and 5 being “very interested.”
Out of respect to survey respondents we will not share direct quotes, but did want to share that many participants’ quotes were poignant and painfully illustrated the mental distress nurses are coping with currently. Our survey, although with a smaller sample size and more informal, is in line with recent research and news articles showing that nurses are struggling, especially during COVID-19.
The purpose of this survey was to help C3 identify specific areas in which UK nurses’ mental health is struggling, and possible ways to support them. One of C3’s aims with Nursing Minds is to create an online toolkit which will provide a comprehensive tool of mental health resources for nurses to use that can support and empower nurses and their mental health. The latter half of the survey therefore focused on which resources nurses felt would be most helpful to support their mental health.
The above graphic displays responses to the question “which toolkit options do you feel would best support your mental health”. Notably, 70% of surveyed respondents cited “resilience techniques and tips” as being helpful, and almost 70% responding that “self-coaching and how to use self-coaching strategies during stressful periods” would be helpful. Overall, the majority of respondents to the survey indicated that the suggested tool kit options would be helpful in supporting their mental health.
Steps Moving Forwards
C3 will utilize the information collected from the survey to guide the development of the Nursing Minds toolkit. As further progress on the toolkit is made, updates will be posted here on C3’s blog. You can also follow along by signing up for our e-newsletters and following us on our nursing Twitter account, @C3nursing.