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Queensland nurses and midwives have identified dangerous workloads, moral distress or fatigue and insufficient income as the key barriers to recruiting and retaining workforce as part of a survey conducted by the Queensland Nurses & Midwives’ Union (QNMU).

The survey also focused on upskilling the current nursing and midwifery workforce and fostering new ways of practice and models of care.

More than 6,000 members across the public and private healthcare sectors and aged care participated in the study.

Safe workloads, ensuring minimum staff ratios and skills mix, overdue wage increases and safe working conditions, were seen as the main solutions for recruiting more nurses and midwives to the understaffed Queensland health system.

QNMU members also identified education and training opportunities (96.03%), management support to take professional development leave (87.14%) and more clinical facilitators to provide support/education on shift (84.97%), as ways of upskilling the current nursing and midwifery.

The finding come ahead of the health summit convened by Queensland Health (QH) in Brisbane today (27 September).

QNMU Secretary Beth Mohle said the survey results provided a valuable insight into member attitudes, concerns and potential solutions for chronic understaffing impacting patient care.

“It’s given our members with an opportunity to voice their concerns about dangerously excessive workloads, poor pay and working conditions – and how they’re affecting the retention and the recruitment of highly-trained nurses and midwives across the Queensland health system,” Ms Mohle said.

“Whilst this year’s State Budget saw the greatest capital investment in health in many years, these new facilities cannot be resourced without adequate numbers of trained staff.”

Ms Mohle said the health summit was a great opportunity for the Government to genuinely listen to nurses and midwives on the ground and find real solutions that can help retain and recruit health professionals.

“We need to work together to reduce the intense pressures on the current workforce and make it safer for patients.

“Nurses and midwives are leaving the system in droves. There are solutions which can be implemented right now to retain the current skilled workforce and buy the Government time to recruit the next generation of nurses and midwives.