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Crystal Oldman: Policymakers should shadow a district nurse for a day

To truly understand the highly skilled, complex care delivered by district nurses in thousands of homes every day, policymakers need to see these specialist practitioners in action, says QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman

To truly understand the highly skilled, complex care delivered by district nurses in thousands of homes every day, policymakers need to see these specialist practitioners in action, says QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman

District nurse
Picture: Science Photo Library

Four years ago, the Queen’s Nursing Institute called for a coherent workforce strategy that would address recruitment and retention as well as development of the current workforce.

At the time, proposed changes to nurse education, an ageing workforce and increasing complexity of care meant a perfect storm was brewing in nursing.

Now, with a recent report from the Health Foundation saying that NHS workforce planning is not fit for purpose, it appears we are in the eye of that storm.

Driving the shape of the workforce

The QNI’s Right Nurse, Right Skills campaign, which has been running for the past five years, makes it clear that it is the needs of patients, carers, families and communities that should drive the shape of the workforce.

It needs to focus on best practice, innovation and productivity, while also delivering a compassionate service to people at their most vulnerable.

More care closer to home

I encourage all senior policymakers to shadow a district nurse to see firsthand the complexity and risk that is being managed. It would be a powerful experience, providing evidence that the aspirations of the Five Year Forward View are highly dependent on the skills and leadership of these professionals.

Delivering more care closer to home requires a coherent workforce plan. The QNI is ready to support the work required and help develop the future nursing workforce for the communities we serve.


Crystal Oldman is chief executive of the Queen’s Nursing Institute
@CrystalOldman 

 

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