Over 70 percent of nursing staff suffer from chronic fatigue, and 75.2 percent thought about quitting their job, according to a nationwide survey of workers in the nursing field.
The survey, conducted by the Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions, showed that the work environment and health conditions of nursing staff did not improve over the last five years, leading to a growing number leaving their jobs and contributing to a nationwide shortage.
In releasing the survey results Monday, the union said that over 60 percent of the workers said they were also worried about their health.
The survey of 32,372 people was conducted between Sept. 1 and Nov. 15 last year. It investigated working conditions of nursing staff across the country, including trained and junior nurses at hospitals, nurses who work in homes for the elderly and disabled, and midwives.
The questionnaire was comprised of 43 questions, including such queries as the size of their workload, their stress or fatigue levels, and how they feel about their job.
The survey revealed that an overload of night shifts, overtime, and lack of breaks were behind the worsening health of the nursing staff.
Nearly 74 percent said their fatigue either “remains until the next day” or “never goes away,” while 60 percent said they are either “very anxious” or “anxious” about their health, or “get sick easily.” Both figures saw no improvement since the union’s last survey in 2009.
The top reason for staff wanting to quit their jobs was a “work overload due to shortage of staff.” This was followed by “low pay,” and “not being able to take vacations.”
In the survey’s comments section, many respondents voiced their concerns about the toll their jobs had taken on them.
“I like my job, but it’s so tiring and agonizing that I want to quit immediately,” said one respondent.
“I’m too tired physically and psychologically, and I’ve lost pride in my job,” said another.
The survey also found that even pregnant staff faced harsh working conditions, with one-third not given exemptions for night shifts, and the same ratio worried about the possibility of miscarriages.
The survey also revealed that 253 nursing staffers worked more than 60 hours of overtime each month.