Results published of BTS Survey on current landscape of respiratory nurse specialists in UK

Results published of BTS Survey on current landscape of respiratory nurse specialists in UK

ARNS members took part in a BTS respiratory nurse survey in 2016, many thanks for your contribution.

The study, published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research (, analysed over 600 responses to two different online surveys – one for individual respiratory nurses and the other for NHS employers.

It was commissioned to map out the current state of the respiratory nurse specialty in the NHS, to help inform future workforce plans and ensure the long-term provision of quality patient care.

Key findings include:

  • Only 5 in 10 nurses (53.6%) reported they were able to spend as much time with their patients as needed – and over a quarter (25.3%) felt they were unable to have sufficient patient contact.
  • More than 9 in 10 nurses (91%) reported working additional hours each week above what was contracted, with nearly three quarters (72%) stating they worked an extra six hours a week.
  • Within the next decade, 48.1% of nurses surveyed plan to, or will be eligible for, retirement – and a further 1.8% plan to leave nursing in the next five years. Retiring nurses are often working at a senior level and leading services, which raises a significant need to identify suitably qualified staff to replace them.
  • A good proportion of nurses felt supported by clinical colleagues (77.6%) and line managers (62.2%) – the vast majority (93.1%) felt able to attend meetings and study days, with 78% agreeing that training and education opportunities were available to access.

Wendy Preston (Chair of ARNS) highlights that with close to half of all respiratory nurses planning to retire within the next ten years succession planning is essential and must be a priority. Many current respiratory nurses will have developed into their roles and often set up services within their clinical area. The jump to being a specialist or advanced nurse is vast and needs not only education resources to bridge but also time for supervised practice. There is a need for trainee roles and robust work force planning.

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