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Sustaining working ability in the nursing profession - investigation of premature departure from work - (NEXT NURSES' EXIT STUDY)

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German nursing under scrutiny

In order to avoid the prolonged negative consequences of a chronic nursing shortage, a far-reaching study of the profession was undertaken.

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Throughout Europe there is a shortage of qualified nursing staff. In the wake of an ageing population, the NEXT NURSES' EXIT STUDY aimed to analyse the exact reasons for these shortfalls in this demanding career. The countries that make up Europe are very varied and an individual country's economic and social conditions can profoundly affect employment statistics. In all, therefore, ten countries were studied and analysed. To analyse the situation in Germany, researchers at the University of Wuppertal collected data and analysed it in relation to the prevailing economic situation. Factors creating a unique socio-economic climate included financial constraints as a result of a diagnosis-related group reimbursement scheme occurring simultaneously with an increase in unemployment. Data from over 6\;000 questionnaires obtained from 75 health care institutions over a period of two years was analysed. Of these, around 200 were from leavers. The most significant results were obtained from those with intention to leave (ITL) and those who had actually left. As would be expected, the figures showed that a rapid decrease in other employment opportunities artificially lowered ITL. At the same time, fear about unemployment increased. the main factor revealed by the survey to be responsible for wishing to leave the profession centred on promotion prospects. Second to this were health reasons, in particular psychological health, private life conflicts and difficult work conditions. long-term planning in the health sector is crucial given the importance of the social needs of the population and the imminent increase in demand. Variables affecting uptake in nursing are many and incentives, not merely financial, need to be worked out to stem dissatisfaction within the profession. The results of this comprehensive survey provide a sound basis for the strategic planning of a flexible, dynamic service to provide Europeans with the best possible health options.

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