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Top ten: Nursing Standard’s most-read articles of 2021

A look back at the ten most-read Nursing Standard news stories in 2021 from flexible working via COVID toe to where did that COVID bonus go prime minister...?
Image showing an array of screens and large letters in front of them saying Top 10

A look back at the ten most-read Nursing Standard news stories in 2021 from flexible working via COVID toe to where did that COVID bonus go prime minister...?

If 2021 has been anything it’s been eventful, and nurses have been front and centre of some of the biggest stories globally.

As is to be expected, COVID-19 has continued to dominate the news, but away from the pandemic there have been stories about flexible working, hearings of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have continued to make headlines and nurses’ fight for better pay has been widely covered.

Here are out ten most-read articles of the year:

1. Nurses should look out for ‘COVID toe’ in patients Picture: Mid Yorkshire

A look back at the ten most-read Nursing Standard news stories in 2021 from flexible working via COVID toe to where did that COVID bonus go prime minister...?

Top 10 image: looking back at the most-read stories in Nursing Standard in 2021
Picture: iStock

If 2021 has been anything it’s been eventful, and nurses have been front and centre of some of the biggest stories globally.

As is to be expected, COVID-19 has continued to dominate the news, but away from the pandemic there have been stories about flexible working, hearings of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have continued to make headlines and nurses’ fight for better pay has been widely covered.

Here are out ten most-read articles of the year:

1. Nurses should look out for ‘COVID toe’ in patients

Picture of a condition called 'COVID toe'
Picture: Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

As more unusual symptoms of COVID-19 emerged, nurses were told to be aware of whether a rash could be a sign of the virus.

The COVID-19 Skin Patterns site in January showed more than 400 images of rashes collected via the COVID Symptom Study app, which was set up during the first wave of the pandemic to gather information from the public about the signs and symptoms of virus.

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2. Nurses win right to make unlimited flexible working requests

Picture of a work roster on a wall with a nurse pointing at a line on it
Picture: Christopher Woods

A new agreement aimed at preventing staff quitting the NHS would see nurses able to make unlimited flexible working requests for a better work-life balance.

The agreement, reached in June, meant that from September NHS staff in England, Wales and Scotland were no longer required to justify flexible working requests and were able to apply from their first day in the job.

The changes are the result of a deal between health unions – including the RCN and Unison – and employers to improve staff retention.

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3. Anti-vax nurse who says COVID-19 is a hoax is struck off NMC register

Picture of anti-vax campaigner Kate Shemirani
Kate Shemirani Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Nurse and anti-vax campaigner Kate Shemirani, who said the pandemic was a scam and nurses should not be trusted, was struck off.

The NMC removed Ms Shemirani from the register following a fitness to practise hearing on 28 May.

Ms Shemirani, an aesthetic nurse practitioner from the south of England, made claims on social media and at public protests denying the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic, describing it as a scam and claiming vaccinations are poisonous.

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4. COVID-19: nurses told to report cases of unusual inflammation in children

Picture shows the hand of a child with Kawasaki disease
Kawasaki disease Picture: Science Photo Library

Continuing with the theme of unusual COVID-19 symptoms, in April nurses were told to inform paediatric critical care teams if a child presented with an unusual clinical picture consistent with COVID-19 symptoms.

The warning from the Paediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS) came after the government instructed medical experts to investigate a possible link between COVID-19 and Kawasaki disease, which causes swelling of the blood vessels of the heart, high fever and rash.

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5. Nurse struck off after resuscitation attempt on care home resident with DNACPR notice

Picture of a nurse holding a DNACPR notice and pointing at it with a pen
A DNACPR notice

A nurse was struck off after attempting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a nursing home resident who had a do not attempt CPR (DNACPR) notice in place.

Adeniyi Adesanya, a nurse with more than 15 years’ experience, was the only nurse on duty on the night shift of 16-17 November 2018 at the 64-bed Woodland Manor Care Home in Buckinghamshire.

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6. Will there be a COVID bonus for NHS staff, prime minister?

Picture of prime minister Boris Johnson at a Downing Street news conference
Prime minister Boris Johnson Picture: BBC

Nurses and the RCN called on prime minister Boris Johnson to confirm whether nurses would receive a bonus after he sidestepped the issue of whether NHS staff in England can expect a £500 ‘COVID bonus’ like their counterparts in Scotland.

Speaking at a Downing Street briefing in January, Mr Johnson instead talked of the three-year 2018 Agenda for Change pay deal.

Then RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘We urge the prime minister and fellow ministers to be accurate when discussing nursing pay.’

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7. Nurses who decline COVID-19 vaccination could be redeployed

Picture of a vial of COVID-19 vaccine
Picture: Alamy

In March came the news that nurses who decline the offer of a COVID-19 vaccine could be redeployed to a ‘less exposure-prone setting’.

NHS England guidance to trusts dated 12 March stated employers could consider moving staff who had declined the vaccine, while setting out a number of measures to keep non-vaccinated staff safe at work, including appropriate personal protective equipment and testing.

MPs have since, in December, voted in support of mandatory COVID-19 jabs for all patient-facing NHS staff in England.

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8. Nurse struck off by NMC after selling slimming pills

Picture of an appetite suppressant drug
Appetite suppressant Picture: Alamy

A nurse was struck off by the NMC after selling slimming pills without proper licences or qualifications, leading one patient to be hospitalised.

Joyce Kirkham supplied controlled drugs to patients through her private Medi-Slim clinic in Widnes, Cheshire, between 2010 and 2015 despite not having nurse prescribing qualifications or the required medical or business licenses.

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9. Backdated holiday pay for NHS nurses: unions reach money deal over ‘historic error’

NHS nurses whose regular overtime was not reflected in their holiday pay were to receive back payments to correct the ‘historic error’
Picture: iStock

NHS nurses whose regular overtime was not reflected in their holiday pay were to receive back payments to correct the ‘historic error’ after a deal with struck between unions and employers in March.

Eligible Agenda for Change staff in England were set to receive a one-off sum amounting to 16% of any overtime pay received in the two financial years to April 2021 under the deal.

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10. Fitness to Practise: NMC clears nurse accused of dishonesty

Picture of a brass plaque outside an office of the Nursing and Midwifery Council
Picture: Barney Newman

A nurse described the emotional impact of a three-and-a-half-year Fitness to Practise investigation, which eventually found that the fault lay with their employer.

The nurse, who wanted to remain anonymous, was reported to the NMC in 2017 and stood accused of failing to undertake diabetic foot assessments while working as a locum practice nurse. But the NMC decided that the nurse did carry out the necessary assessments.

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