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Last Updated: Monday, 28 May 2007, 23:03 GMT 00:03 UK
Stress 'harms nurses' sex lives'
Rushing nurses
Nurses say they are under pressure
Almost half of nurses feel their sex lives are damaged by the emotional stress of their job, a poll suggests.

Nursing Times magazine surveyed almost 2,000 nurses, and found 70% said they suffered from physical or mental health problems linked to work-related stress.

Some 44% said their sex life was suffering as a result and a quarter said they had started drinking more.

Nursing Times blamed the pressure of financial deficits and the threat of job cuts in the NHS.

KEY FINDINGS
70% of nurses suffer side-effects of work stress
44% said stress was negatively affecting their sex life
24% were drinking more alcohol than usual
13% were smoking more than usual or have started smoking
30% were taking more sick days than usual

The poll also found one in 10 nurses were smoking more, and almost a third reported taking off more days sick than usual.

More than one in five of those surveyed had taken 30 or more days off during the last year.

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: "Nurses are under pressure, under valued and under paid.

"Stress is a serious issue for nurses who run the daily gamut of violence and abuse from patients and relatives, as well as coping with the day-to-day pressures of having to do ever more with fewer resources because of deficit-led cost cutting.

"When you add to that worries about job security and a pay cut, it comes as no surprise that stress levels are affecting nurses' personal lives and relationships."

Physical attacks

A RCN poll last year found more than a quarter of nurses surveyed had been physically attacked at work, while nearly half had been bullied or harassed by a manager.

Dr Carter said: "We need to tackle these issues if we are to keep nurses in the profession, while at the same time attracting new recruits so they can continue to deliver high quality patient care."

Steve Barnett, director of NHS Employers, said the impact of stress on NHS employees was "vastly under-estimated".

He said work-related stress was responsible for 30% of sickness absence in the NHS - and cost the service £300-400million a year.

However, he said NHS Employers had launched a campaign to combat stress, which seemed to be having an effect.

Other findings

A second survey of almost 400 nurses found 90% predicted there would be an increase in sexually transmitted infections over the next five years.

The majority (84%) said that services had improved in the previous decade but a similar number (74%) said they were now being stretched by recent cuts.

Over 80% said sexual health was not given a high enough priority by healthcare providers and 85% said sexual health services were not given sufficient funds.




SEE ALSO
Attacks on nurses 'on the rise'
28 Feb 06 |  Health

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