The nursing profession in Wales is under strain according to the Royal College of Nursing.

The alarming revelation stems from the college's 2023 Employment Survey which details the plight of nearly 1,000 nursing staff across Wales.

Shockingly, almost half of the participants (44.9 per cent) have contemplated leaving the profession with the reasons of feeling underappreciated (68.7 per cent), overwhelmed (62.9 per cent), and fatigued (58.2 per cent).

Nicky Hughes, RCN Wales associate director of nursing (employment relations), said: "It’s a perfect storm.

"Nursing staff stand as the unwavering pillars of care, yet they face a tempest of strain.

"Without them, there would be no NHS.

"For a workforce that gives beyond measure, it’s our turn to give back – support, value and respect for nursing staff are not just deserved, they’re due."

The evidence shows an alarming trend of increased unpaid overtime, with 73.5 per cent of nurses putting in additional hours each week.

In fact, among those who work beyond their contracted hours at least once a week, nearly three in four (71.7 per cent) work at least three additional hours.

This unpaid work essentially contributes the equivalent of 1,354 full-time nurses to the NHS every week.

In the 2022/23 fiscal year, NHS Wales health boards spent an astounding £161.2m on agency nursing, an amount that could pay the annual salary of 5,591 newly qualified full-time nurses.

It's worth noting that 58.6 per cent of the respondents also stated that their income represents half or more of their household earnings, underlining the significant role of nursing staff in sustaining families financially.

Nicky Hughes further stated: "Unpaid hours are a silent testament to our nursing staff’s commitment to health care.

"Yet this is a double-edged sword, as the financial burden looms over both their lives and the health system they uphold.

"The health of our caregivers reflects the health of our society.

"RCN Wales calls for immediate action to address these issues, emphasising the need for a sustainable workforce plan that values and supports nursing staff, ensuring they can provide the highest standard of evidence-based care to the people of Wales."