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Better working conditions keep nurses in the profession

Nine out of ten nurses can imagine staying in the profession in the longer term. This is revealed by a long-term ZHAW study, which examined the early professional careers of nurses.

The shortage of skilled workers in the nursing sector could be countered with better working conditions. This is the conclusion drawn by a long-term study conducted by the ZHAW with nurses who qualified in 2011/2012 after completing their studies at a university of applied sciences (FH) or college of higher education (HF). “Six years after embarking on their careers, nine out of ten nurses can imagine working in the profession for another ten years. In return, however, the majority expect better working conditions,” says René Schaffert from the School of Health Professions. The current conditions are said to place an excessive strain on nursing professionals and conflict with their main needs, which include time for their private lives and the ability to reconcile professional and family commitments. Of the twelve aspects that they were asked about, the participants rated these as the two most important with regard to their professional future. In the assessment of the realities of everyday working life, however, these aspects were ranked second and third lowest.

Salary considered too low

The study also revealed discrepancies in other areas, including as regards salary. While this aspect was ranked in the middle of the field in terms of expectations, it came out rock bottom in the assessment of professional reality. “Although a good salary is not the primary focus, remuneration is currently considered to be too low for the work performed,” says Schaffert. This is also reflected in the improvements called for with a view to remaining in the profession in the longer term. Almost 90% demanded a higher salary, while 72% stated their desire for conditions that allow for the better reconciliation of work and family life and 62% wanted to be subjected to less time pressure in performing their duties.