A national survey highlights the concerns nurses and midwives in the UK have about COVID-19 and the risks it poses to their physical and mental health, as well as the health of their families. Respondents also reported training for staff redeployed to front line care was inadequate or non-existent. These results show there is an urgent need to provide support for the health and wellbeing of staff and to ensure they have access to ongoing training.

The ICON study is a collaboration between King’s College London, University of Warwick, the University of Nottingham, Cardiff University, University of Plymouth, University of Surrey, St Bartholomew’s Hospital and the Royal College of Nursing Research Society.

It is a longitudinal survey to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the UK nursing and midwifery workforce and how this changes over time. The survey is being undertaken at three time-points from pre-peak through to the recovery period. The results from each point are being reported in real time, so the findings can be used to inform workforce strategies within the NHS and social care.

Commenting on the key implications for the nursing and midwifery workforce from Survey 1 (before the peak), Dr Holly Blake, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Nottingham said: “These early findings demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 on nurses and midwives, with many feeling unprepared due to lack of access to training or essential equipment. Stress, anxiety and depression are common, with around one third reporting these mental health impacts to be severe. There is a clear need to provide ongoing training and psychological support during and after the outbreak.”

For more information, contact Dr Keith Couper (study lead): [email protected] or Dr Holly Blake: [email protected].

For early results from the first survey, see:

Press release: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/survey-of-uk-nurses-and-midwives

Nursing Times, 21 April: https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/coronavirus/uk-nurses-feel-unprepared-for-covid-19-peak-finds-new-survey-21-04-2020/

Nursing Standard, 21 April: https://rcni.com/nursing-standard/newsroom/news/covid-19-redeployment-training-non-existent-or-inadequate-nurses-reveal-160301

Nursing Standard, 30 April: https://rcni.com/nursing-standard/newsroom/news/covid-19-survey-rcn-calls-nurses-feedback-peak-of-pandemic-160586

BBC Radio Surrey, 22 April: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p088wg06 (Prof Jill Maben interview at 1:10:17)

Guardian, 24 April: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/24/year-nurse-tories-10-years-bad-care-nhs-crisis

Mirage News, 29 April: https://www.miragenews.com/research-highlights-concerns-of-uk-nurses-and-midwives-over-covid-19/

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