This site is intended for health professionals only

RCN: Scottish nurses overworked

Over half (54%) of Scotland's nurses are working more than their contracted hours each week so that they can meet demand, a survey has revealed. 

Just under two thirds (58%) of nurses responding to the survey say they facing too much pressure, and 55% report that they are unable to provide the level of care that they would like as a result.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) commissioned survey of 1,681 nurses in Scotland paints a picture of dedicated professionals who are struggling to meet demand, without the required resources, the organisation claims. 

Norman Provan, associate director of employment relations at RCN Scotland, said: “When you hear stories of people not being paid for extra hours because they were not agreed in advance, or people are not able to take time back in lieu because to do so would mean leaving colleagues even more short staffed, it is apparent that health services are only managing to meet demand because of nurses willing to go the extra mile, for free.

“While there have been some welcome increases in nursing staff numbers in recent months, this comes on the back of years of cuts coupled with ever-increasing demand for services. There is no doubt amongst our members that many areas are seriously understaffed which means that more nurses need to be recruited urgently or new ways found to deliver services.”

Despite these pressures, nurses are still generally positive about their job with 65% thinking nursing is a rewarding career and 65% being enthusiastic about their job most days.