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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 January 29 - February 4  > More than 70% of nurses consider resigning due to chronic fatigue: union survey
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2014 January 29 - February 4 [LABOR]

More than 70% of nurses consider resigning due to chronic fatigue: union survey

February 4, 2014
A medical workers’ union on February 3 released survey results regarding the actual working conditions of nurses, indicating that more than 70% of nursing personnel always feel tired and think about leaving their jobs.

The Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions (Iroren) surveyed 32,372 medical-care workers.

Among them, 73.6% said that they have difficulty in recovering from fatigue. The ratio of those who experience severe stress was 67.2% while 60% worried about their health conditions. In the survey, 35% of respondents complained of bad health.

According to the survey results, frequent night shift work and long working hours are regarded as factors behind the aggravation of workers’ health conditions.

The ratio of workers working more than nine days a month on night shift increased by 4.9 percentage points from the previous survey conducted five years ago to 36.6%. Almost all of the respondents worked longer than their scheduled shift. The survey also showed an increase in the number of workers who had to come to work earlier to relieve night shifts. Furthermore, 253 nurses worked more than 60 hours of overtime a month, the danger line set by the government for medical care workers to experience “karoshi” (death from overwork).

As for nurses working under the two-night shift system, 13.4% felt chronic fatigue despite having a break during the shift. The figure nearly tripled to 47.6% if workers are unable to take a break.

More than 30% of pregnant medical staff worked night shifts and about 30% had threatened abortions.

Of the 32,372 respondents, 75.2% said that they think about giving up their career. The most cited reason for this was excessively heavy workloads caused by a labor shortage (44.2%).

Pointing out that the harsh working environment of nursing staff remains unchanged, Iroren Chair Yamada Mamiko stressed the urgent need for effective regulations on night work and measures to increase the number of medical staff in order to improve working conditions.
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