Researchers worry nurses putting health at risk

Dr Jennieffer Barr, left, and Ms Kay Ross. Photo: Contributed
Dr Jennieffer Barr, left, and Ms Kay Ross. Photo: Contributed Contributed

THERE are about 270,000 nurses working in Australia but little is known about their health and wellbeing and how it can impact patient care.

That is about to change with researchers from Southern Cross University encouraging registered and enrolled nurses to participate in a survey that has just been released.

Kay Ross and Jennieffer Barr, of the School of Health and Human Sciences, Tweed Heads, are the principle researchers in the project and they are hoping 70,000 nurses will complete the survey.

The research is being funded by the Department of Health and Ageing.

"For such a large workforce it seems odd that the health and wellbeing of nurses has often been overlooked as an area of study," Ms Ross said.

"It is important to find out how nurses provide health promotion and education and how their own health and wellbeing allows them to do that.

"Nurse health is a hot topic within industry circles as the workforce ages.

According to census data from 2005, 35% of registered nurses were aged over 50, while the average age of a registered nurse is now 45.

Chronic illness is a major concern for the workforce, according to Dr Barr, a nurse for more than 30 years.

"Nurses, like the Australian population are ageing and with that comes chronic illness," Ms Ross said.

"Nursing is a very challenging profession."

Registered and enrolled nurses are encouraged to participate in the survey that will take approximately 15 minutes.

The survey is completely anonymous and can be found at

The researchers will collect data over a six month period with the aim of releasing their findings towards the end of next year.

Topics:  health nurse research wellbeing

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