'Nurse ambassadors' being recruited to boost profession's image

Chief nurse in bid to improve reputation of nursing and midwifery as desirable careers.

Chief nurse in bid to improve reputation of nursing and midwifery as desirable careers

England’s deputy chief nurse has revealed details of a major campaign to boost the image of nursing.

The Transforming Perceptions of Nursing and Midwifery campaign focuses on improving perceptions in the existing workforce, in schools and the media and among politicians. It is a joint initiative between the RCN and NHS England.

Details of the campaign come as figures show thousands of nurses under 40 are leaving the NHS and morale is at its ‘lowest ever’ level.

Career kudos

The campaign aims to ease workforce pressures caused by this and the rising number of nurses reaching retirement age, as well as ensuring the public image of nursing and midwifery focuses on career opportunities and value to society.

England’s chief nurse Jane Cummings first spoke of her vision to improve the reputation of the profession in an interview with Nursing Standard last year.

In a blog published last week, NHS England director of nursing and England’s deputy chief nurse Hilary Garratt said engagement with groups including front-line nurses, students, academics and professional bodies in the past six months had identified confusion about pathways into the profession.

Need for a greater voice

Lack of awareness, particularly among young people, of the range of job opportunities was also identified, as well as a need to give nursing a greater voice with policy makers.

Ms Garratt states NHS England and the RCN have identified the need to improve perceptions in:

  • Educational environments, from primary schools through to adult learning.
  • The existing nursing and midwifery workforce.
  • Key influencer groups such as politicians, other professionals and the media.

Ms Garratt invites front-line nurses and midwives to get in touch to express their views on issues including promoting nursing as a career, and how nurses and midwives can be better recognised as equals among healthcare professionals.

Worrying statistics

Figures from NHS Digital and analysed by the BBC show more than 17,000 nurses under 40 quit the service in England in 2016-17.

The number leaving the register exceeded those joining by 3,000, heaping even more pressure on employers to fill vacancies.

Nurses posting on the Nursing Standard Facebook page explain the mood behind the statistics.

One said: ‘Nursing as we knew it is dead. Morale is the lowest ever and nurses cannot wait to leave. We’re working extra hours for no pay – and it is low pay for the level of responsibility.’

Encouraging recruits, retaining experience

Professor Cummings admitted there is a problem but said changes were being made to highlight the value of the NHS to new talent and to retain current staff.

‘We’re in the process of bringing in lots of nurse ambassadors who are going to be able to talk about what a great role it is, to be able to tell their story, so we can encourage people to enter the profession and for those in the profession, to stay in it,’ she said.

Further information

Read more about the campaign

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