High workload jeopardizes nurses' health, patients' safety: survey

The high workload in healthcare in the Netherlands affects the health and private life of over three quarters of nurses, according to a survey profession association V&VN did among 17 thousand nurses. 64 percent of respondents also said that the quality of care is under severe pressure, AD reports.

Half of the nurses said that the too high work pressure is putting the safety of patients at risk. As examples they mention mistakes made with medicines, and hygiene not always being up to standard. There was also one case mentioned in which a single night shift nurse was responsible for caring for 80 patients. 

In addition to the high workload caused by staff shortages, nurses also face numerous other tasks - endless administration, lawn mowing, sprinkling salt to combat slickness, cleaning the air conditioning system and monitoring the refrigerator. According to the V&VN, nurses are committed to providing patients with the help they need. "They feel a huge responsibility to keep providing care at the bed and all the other things they do on top of that", a spokeswoman said, according to the newspaper. This results in stress and feeling overworked.

Nurses' private life and health are suffering under the work pressure. According to the survey, 11 percent of nurses want to quit and 31 percent are thinking about it. 

The V&VN wants the new government to draw up an emergency plan with the sector focused on preventing current nurses resigning and recruiting new staff.