French nurses’ poll paints grim picture as virus cases soar

A significant proportion of French nurses responding to a poll are fed up, with 37% saying that the health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic makes them want to change jobs

The poll published Sunday by the National Order of Nurses comes as COVID-19 infection rates soar across the nation.

Of nurses in public establishments, 43% feel that “we are not better prepared collectively to respond to a new wave of infections,” according to the poll. The figure rises to 46% for nurses in the private domain. And about two-thirds of respondents say their working conditions have deteriorated since the start of the crisis.

Burnout looms, the poll shows, with 57% of respondents saying they have been professionally exhausted since the start of pandemic, while nearly half saying there’s a strong risk that fatigue will impact the quality of care patients receive.

For 37% of the nurses responding, “the crisis … makes them want to change jobs,” and 43% “don’t know if they will still be nurses in five years,” according to the poll, which did not provide a margin of error.

Nurses and other health professionals in France and elsewhere have sporadically demonstrated for higher salaries, better working conditions and more personnel, even during the pandemic. They were given small salary hikes in France starting this fall.

“Today, nurses must deal with a growth in COVID-19 cases and feel unarmed to do so,” the president of the National Order of Nurses, Patrick Chamboredon, said in a statement accompanying the poll.

With nurses “indispensable” to the functioning of the health system, “we cannot accept that,” he said.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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