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Awareness of nursing careers must improve, suggests opinion poll

Nursing workforce shortages will only worsen if the profession is not promoted as an attractive career, a public opinion poll suggests.

The poll of 2,000 people highlights that only 15% of 18 - 24 year olds were told about nursing as a career option at school.

This may seem low considering the well-documented staff shortages, yet it is nearly double the rate compared to the 25 - 34 year olds, which drops further to around 7%.

When asked what is important to them in their choice of career, 78% of respondents stated they wanted job satisfaction, while 30% rated a large salary as important. More than a fifth (27%) looked for friendly colleagues and one in five people regarded doing something that helps someone else as important.

The poll was carried out by independent hospital, The London Clinic, which asked people of all ages, their opinion on nursing as a career.

Nuala Close, director of nursing and matron at The London Clinic, said: “I feel we have an obligation to promote nursing and make it better understood as a profession. The role of a nurse in and out of the NHS has changed enormously over the last few decades.

“Whether you aspire to be a community nurse or a director of nursing at a major hospital, there are a million different roles to choose from within this profession. This is what needs to be promoted and this is what young people need to see, a profession, with potential to train, specialise and progress while making a difference to the lives of people in need on a daily basis.”

When asked why they had not considered nursing, 40% of people stated it was “not in my nature” and 30% stated it is a very hard job. However, the poll also showed that 38% of people think nurses “do an important job” and 31% think they “make a difference to people's lives”.