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Nurses’ determination praised, but senior leaders urge staff to look after well-being

Letter of support acknowledges ongoing pressures as difficult winter approaches

Letter of support from UK’s four chief nursing officers and NMC acknowledges ongoing pressures as difficult winter approaches

Nurses have been praised for their ongoing ‘determination’ but have been urged to look after their well-being as the profession heads into another difficult winter.

An open letter signed by the UK’s four chief nursing officers and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) acknowledged the ongoing pressures facing nurses due to the pandemic.

Letter of support from UK’s four chief nursing officers and NMC acknowledges ongoing pressures as difficult winter approaches

Nurse wearing a mask: an open letter of support from UK’s four chief nursing officers and NMC chief acknowledges ongoing staff pressures as winter approaches
Picture: iStock

Nurses have been praised for their ongoing ‘determination’ but have been urged to look after their well-being as the profession heads into another difficult winter.

An open letter signed by the UK’s four chief nursing officers and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) acknowledged the ongoing pressures facing nurses due to the pandemic.

Context would still count if a nurse’s decisions or practice are challenged

‘As we head into the winter months and face ongoing challenges we all want to acknowledge the difficult decisions you will continue to make every day,’ the letter states.

‘We recognise that you may need to work more flexibly, often in unfamiliar and high pressured situations. We know that this can be difficult, and that in some unprecedented situations you may need to depart from established procedures to care for people. ‘

The nurse leaders also reiterated previous assurances made earlier in the pandemic that context would count if a nurse’s decisions or practice were challenged if something went wrong.

‘We want to reassure you that the NMC will always consider the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors and context relevant to the environment in which a professional is working,’ the letter added.

Nurses and health visitors experiencing more sick days since pandemic

They also urged staff to look after their own health and well-being.

Earlier this week, new analysis revealed nurses are experiencing more sickness for anxiety, depression, chest, respiratory and headaches than before the pandemic.

The NHS in England recorded over 18% more (73,209) sick days among nurses and health visitors in May 2021 compared to May 2019, an investigation by the RCN found.

The letter was jointly signed by chief nursing officer for England Ruth May, chief nursing officer for Northern Ireland Charlotte McArdle, interim chief nursing officer for Scotland Alex McMahon, chief nursing officer for Wales Sue Tranka and NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe.

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