A recent survey released by the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) has found that more than one in four nurses working in primary health are planning to quit in the next twelve months.
The looming mass exit from the primary health sector puts Australia at risk of not having enough nurses to staff t general practices, correctional facilities, schools and other primary health services, according to APNA.
The survey of 1,061 primary health nurses found that 28.73 percent of nurses in the sector were planning to quit over the coming year.
Workloads have been blamed for this result, with 80.4 percent of those surveyed indicating that they felt exhausted from work, and 78.8 percent indicating that they were experiencing burnout.
Further, 72.9 percent indicated that they felt they were “working too much”.
Karen Booth, President of APNA, has called for reform within the sector, indicating that “primary health care nurses desperately need help”.
‘While health authorities recruited extra staff and provided extra resources to help with hospital admissions, they forgot the primary healthcare sector,’ she said.
Sydney GP Dr Josie Guyer echoed Ms Booth’s sentiments.
‘The current COVID times that we’re having to live with, especially in primary care, [have increased] demands not only on us as GPs, but certainly on nurses,’
Ms Booth indicated that “innovative” approaches will be needed to address this issue, which includes increased staffing and focus on the sector, as well as the involvement of nursing students to stem the shortage.