Career General Health & Wellbeing

England’s Best Region to Be a Nurse This International Nurses Day

Whether you are starting your nursing career, looking to relocate or just curious about how your area ranks, these are the best and worst regions to be a nurse today. 

What’s Inside this Report:

To celebrate International Nurses Day, we launched an investigation to reveal which region of England is officially the best place to be a nurse. Exploring where staff morale is the highest, housing is most affordable, NHS pressure is the lightest and many more factors contributing to the happiness of our hardworking nurses. 

We identified the following data points as core indicators of the well-being and happiness of nurses working within the NHS. These included the latest published regional vacancy rates, surveyed scores of staff feeling “recognised and rewarded”, morale levels, rate of employee absences, nurse-to-patient ratio, local property affordability, and the number of staff mental health hubs in the region.

By ranking all regions individually for each data point and calculating an overall score, we can confirm that South West England is statistically the best place to be a nurse in England today. Second place goes to the North East & Yorkshire whilst London is in the bottom position.

The South West has the highest number of staff reporting they feel “recognised and rewarded” and the highest level of morale across all regions. Sickness absence rates are low, as is the local nurse-to-patient ratio. Plus, they have the third-best vacancy rate in the country. 

North East & Yorkshire are a close second, driven by property prices being the most affordable in the country. The nurse-to-patient ratio is low, as are vacancy rates, meaning that the workplace is less likely to be understaffed, and nurses are less likely to feel overwhelmed.

The South West’s Regional Chief Nurse, Sue Doheny says: 

“It’s great to have recognition of the South West as the best region of England to be a nurse. I’m sure everyone could argue about the stats and their relative importance, but when it comes to the critical areas of morale and professional recognition, we’re right up there.

And there isn’t even a mention of quality of life and the amazing landscape that form the backdrop to nursing here, and which we know are such a big draw for so many staff.

What better on International Nurses Day than to recognise the benefits of being a nurse right here, in the South West?”

What our Research Found…

At the bottom of the regional rankings, London has the highest vacancy rate, the lowest reported score of staff feeling “recognised and rewarded”, the least affordable property prices, and the highest patient-to-nurse ratio. Interestingly, the number of patients per nurse in London is over 168% higher than in the Midlands, which has the most manageable number of patients per nurse.  However, the sickness absence rate in London is the lowest in the country, which is impressive.

UK RegionVacancy RateAverage score out of 10: “We are recognised & rewarded”Average score out of 10: MoraleSickness Absence RatesPatient-to-nurse numbers at GP practices in EnglandNumber of staff wellbeing/mental health hubsAverage property priceRank TotalFinal Position
South West9.2% (3rd)6.09 (1st)6.01 (1st)5.10% (2nd)2840 (3rd)4 (3rd)£316,879 (4th)171st
North East & Yorkshire8.4% (2nd)6 (4th)5.99 (2nd)7.70% (4th)2940 (2nd)4 (3rd)£179,260 (1st)182nd
North West7.1% (1st)6.04 (3rd)5.98 (3rd)6.20% (5th)3500 (4th)2 (4th)£215,082 (2nd)223rd
Midlands11.0% (6th)5.00 (5th)5.97 (4th)5.60% (3rd)2510 (1st)10 (1st)£244,593 (3rd)234th
South East9.9% (5th)6.08 (2nd)5.99 (2nd)4.10% (1st)3980 (6th)6 (2nd)£373,177 (6th)245th
East of England9.7% (4th)5.88 (6th)5.85 (6th)5.10% (2nd)3530 (5th)4 (3rd)£336,502 (5th)316th
London11.1% (7th)5.93 (7th)5.86 (5th)4.80% (1st)6730 (7th)4 (3rd)£517,726 (7th)377th

A slight limitation of the methodology is the equal weighting of each data point in the ranking system. This feels important to highlight as we understand that some factors may affect nurses’ well-being more than others. This must be considered when using the study to inform career decisions to ensure personal priorities are met.

What is the best region to be a nurse?

Our research evaluated various factors to identify the best region for nurses in England, considering salary, work-life balance, and professional development opportunities. For a detailed ranking, please see the table above.

Despite obstacles, nurses nationwide remain committed to keeping our society happy and healthy. And for that, we cannot say thank you enough. 

We wanted to use this study as an opportunity to celebrate where nurses are thriving most. While also highlighting the differentiating factors contributing to nurses’ well-being across England, shining a light on the pressures they face and the devotion required to be a nurse.

Happy International Nurses Day!

Data Sources

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