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Compassion is key to avoiding production line older people’s care, nurse warns

Care home internship programmes can help address misinformation about older people's nursing
Older man in hospital

Care home internship programmes can help address misinformation about older people's nursing

A nurse who was nominated for an RCNi student nurse award has warned about the importance of compassion in nursing to prevent 'production line care'.

Oncology nurse Jemma James was nominated last year for an RCNi award for work supporting a patient as part of a care home internship programme developed by the University of Northumbria.

As part of the award-winning programme, final-year nursing students spend half of their time in university, and the other half on placement and in community settings, including care homes, the NHS and the voluntary sector.

Care home internship programme improved retention of staff and patients felt valued

Jemma James. Picture: David Gee

Speaking at an RCN webinar, hosted by the college's older people's forum, Ms James said: 'The

Care home internship programmes can help address misinformation about older people's nursing

Older man in hospital. A nurse has warned that compassion is key to avoid 'production line care' for older people
Picture: iStock

A nurse who was nominated for an RCNi student nurse award has warned about the importance of compassion in nursing to prevent 'production line care'.

Oncology nurse Jemma James was nominated last year for an RCNi award for work supporting a patient as part of a care home internship programme developed by the University of Northumbria.

As part of the award-winning programme, final-year nursing students spend half of their time in university, and the other half on placement and in community settings, including care homes, the NHS and the voluntary sector. 

Care home internship programme improved retention of staff and patients felt valued

Oncology nurse Jemma James
Jemma James. Picture: David Gee

Speaking at an RCN webinar, hosted by the college's older people's forum, Ms James said: 'The feedback about the internship has been fantastic from both students and residents. 

'We've seen reduced hospital admissions and readmissions, improved retention of staff and patients feel valued.'

She said the internship addressed the 'misinformation' around older people's nursing.

'Older people's nursing has been historically underfunded and seen as unskilled

'What we are saying is that for older people's nursing you need a huge array of skills, it is multifaceted and is person-centred care.'

A nursing environment and practice that nurtures compassion

She added: 'Older people have the right to supported healthcare irrespective of their location and status. 

'As I see the numbers of older patients going up and nurse numbers going down, there is a real danger of conveyor-like care, doing things as quickly as possible. Compassion is absolutely vital to prevent this production line care.'

Ms James said the key to combatting the issue was 'role modelling and creating a nursing environment and practice that nurtures compassion'.

RCN Wales director Helen Whyley
Helen Whyley

Care home placements will help raise profile of older people's nursing

As part of the webinar, RCN Wales director Helen Whyley talked about the nursing capacity in care homes, and said: 'The nursing role in a care home setting is vital, yet its benefits are often overlooked, preventing nursing students seeking a career in this field. 

'Increasing student placement opportunities in care homes will grow awareness of this career pathway and raise the profile of older people’s nursing, leading to an improvement in staff capacity within care homes.'


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