More than 15% of hospitals saw nurses and assistant nurses quit, giving as reasons changes in their work environment and the risk of COVID-19 infection, according to a survey released by the Japanese Nursing Association on Tuesday.

The ratio was 21.3% for medical institutions that are designated for infectious diseases or those which accept patients suspected of being infected with the virus, according to the survey.

A separate questionnaire survey of nurses showed that many could not get the understanding of their family to continue working. It also found that 20.5% said they had faced discrimination and prejudice.

The survey was conducted on 8,257 hospitals nationwide between Sept. 8 to 28 and received responses from 2,765 hospitals, including 1,138 facilities which are designated for infectious diseases or which accept patients suspected of COVID-19 infection.

"I hope that the government will offer strong financial support to medical institutions as swiftly as possible," said the association's head Toshiko Fukui at a news conference in Tokyo, while pointing out that the situation in hospitals is deteriorating due to the third wave of infections since November.

Out of 38,479 nurses who responded to the questionnaire, 27.6% said their families or relatives had been hurt by thoughtless words from others, followed by 19.8% who said they had received thoughtless words from patients.

Nearly 8% said their families or relatives were asked by their employers not to come to work, and 2.4% said their children were told not to attend their nurseries or kindergartens.