‘In many parts of the NHS, managers are experiencing nursing manpower [sic] difficulties of varying degrees of intensity. These difficulties are characterised by relatively high turnover rates, increasing recruitment difficulties and shortages in some specialties.’
Fans of the BBC drama series Call the Midwife may be spending their Sunday evenings wondering why some people living only half a century ago were so cruel and unforgiving of those who did not conform to societal norms.
Time is running out to enter this year’s Nurse Awards and gain recognition for the excellent and innovative work that you or your team has undertaken. The deadline is January 29, so don’t pass up the opportunity spread best practice, share ideas and celebrate innovation.
Read the national press and you could be forgiven for thinking that care homes are depressing places where older people go to die in grim surroundings. While criticism of some care homes is justified, in reality there are many others where staff deliver excellent care without receiving recognition. Nursing Standard seeks to redress this balance by showcasing a home that has been adjudged excellent by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The issues facing nurses in 2016 are very similar to those seen a century ago
The name Sarah Swift may mean little to you, but she played a pivotal role in the development of modern nursing. One hundred years ago she founded the College of Nursing, which went on to become the RCN, now firmly established as the world’s largest professional nursing organisation.
Reflections and resolutions always accompany the turn of a year, as we inevitably take stock of the previous 12 months and look forward to the new year ahead. The review of 2015 in this week’s issue looks back on another year of pay restraint, threats to student funding and the imminent introduction of revalidation. All of these issues are likely to feature high on the agenda in 2016.
They came in their hundreds, from all over the UK. Nursing students and their supporters converged on Whitehall to stand outside the Department of Health and voice their protests at plans to scrap bursaries and end free tuition for nursing students.
Most chancellors of the exchequer give with one hand and take with the other, but George Osborne hit nursing with a double whammy last week. First he announced that nursing students starting courses from 2017 will have to pay tuition fees, then added to the woe by revealing that they would not receive a bursary either. So the next generation of newly qualified nurses will start their careers on not much more than £21,000 and have debts that will take years to clear.
Nurses know all about resilience, and most possess it in abundance. Coping with the pressure of caring for high numbers of dependent patients is an achievement in itself, especially when set in the context of inadequate resources in a healthcare system that can seem designed to make nurses’ lives more difficult.
Some issues refuse to go away: they are raised repeatedly, action is promised, not much happens, and they come round again. One such example arose last week when the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued a report comparing health services in a host of developed countries.
So many practice nurses are expected to retire in the next few years that a national audit has been ordered by the body responsible for workforce planning, Nursing Standard reveals this week. Health Education England will seek to establish the severity of the situation, with a view to ensuring that the supply of nursing staff to GP surgeries is sufficient to meet demand.
Finally, after months of lobbying from unions, NHS England and employers, the Home Office has accepted that there are not enough nurses in the UK. Last week the home secretary, Theresa May, relented from her previously hard line stance and made it easier for nurses outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to work here.
Almost every day, week and month of the year is earmarked by some charity or other as an opportunity to raise awareness about a clinical condition, patient group or worthwhile cause. During October we celebrate black history, talk about breast cancer and campaign against domestic violence, among other things. In case you missed it, October 10 was World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.
This week a group of 12 men and women will make a decision that will have a profound effect on the nursing and midwifery professions for a generation or longer. They will be asked to approve changes to the way every nurse and midwife in the UK demonstrates that they are keeping their knowledge and skills up to date, and so are fit to remain on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register.
Policies, initiatives, campaigns – they have all failed, one after the other, to end race discrimination in the NHS and the wider healthcare sector. All have been well meant, and some have made limited progress for a time, but none has had the impact required to end the problem.
Every year, hundreds of those who apply for pre-registration nursing courses are turned away because of a lack of places. Until now they have had to wait before re-applying in the hope that they will be luckier next time. However, there may be an alternative route into nursing for this group, under plans being developed by universities and NHS trusts… although there is a catch.
Around one third of nurses in England work 12-hour shifts, and anecdotal evidence suggests that such working arrangements are popular. Many nurses like condensing their working week into a shorter burst of a few days, and save money on their travel costs into the bargain. Managers claim that the reduced number of handovers between shifts is more efficient and safer, given that there are fewer opportunities for messages to be lost in translation.