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Janet Finch: We must find ways to make nurses stay in the profession

The number of nurses leaving the register is a worrying trend for our health and care workforce. We must make plans to improve retention, says Janet Finch

The number of nurses leaving the register is a worrying trend for our health and care workforce. We must make plans to improve retention, says Janet Finch


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Last November, we published data showing, for the first time in recent years, a significant decrease in the number of nurses on our register

The principal cause was more nurses leaving the register before normal retirement age, with worrying trends among European Union and UK-qualified nurses. 

Drawing on a variety of data, reports from other organisations – including NHS Digital, Health Education England and the RCN – paint a similarly concerning picture about the health and care workforce. 

In January, the Commons health committee called for a national data set to enable those responsible for workforce planning to better understand the trends and plan for the future. As the UK's regulator for nurses and midwives, we see this as a welcome recommendation which we support.  

Investment in development

Attracting more people to the profession is still important, but what comes across loud and clear in these numerous reports is that more needs to be done to retain our current nursing workforce. 

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has long called for greater investment in continuing professional development. Not only will this help reverse the numbers leaving, it will increase the likelihood of career progression, improve morale, and equip nurses and midwives with the right skills to keep patients safe.


Dame Janet Finch is chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council 

 

 

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