Nurses are exhausted and need incentives – ultimatums do nothing for workforce retention
Our end of life care survey shows impact on patients when nurse staffing is inadequate. And imposition of compulsory vaccination does nothing to encourage nurses to stay in the profession
The impact of nursing staff shortages is displayed at its most heart-breaking in end of life care.
Our survey with the charity Marie Curie found there are too few nurses to cope with the growing number of people who are dying at home, adding further anxiety to their loved ones’ emotional load.
More nurses needed to provide end of life care at home
Such obstacles to providing end of life care are not new, as our previous such surveys have highlighted, but what is different is more people now need care given by fewer nurses.
‘While the force of ‘no vaccine, no job’ approach is yet to be seen, threats are no way to incentivise exhausted, overworked nurses and other care workers’
Office for National Statistics figures show 120 more people died at home in England and Wales per day in 2020 from conditions other than COVID-19 than the previous five-year average.
After 18 months of a pandemic, attitude is everything in how increasingly precarious nurse staffing levels are approached.
Nurses praise one employer’s imaginative recruitment incentive
Two polar approaches have come to the fore in recent weeks as the perfect examples of carrot versus stick motivators.
The ‘carrot’ is the novel idea by Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust to offer drivers or a car to applicants for its band 5 nursing roles who are without their own transport.
This recruitment tactic has been highly praised – albeit not universally – by nurses on social media as a sensible way to attract staff and improve the safety of lone workers.
Mandatory vaccination sends wrong message to the profession
The ‘stick’ is health and social care secretary Sajid Javid’s suggestion that he is willing to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for NHS staff in England.
The same rule will be imposed on social care staff from 11 November and while the force of the ‘no vaccine, no job’ approach is yet to be seen, threats are no way to incentivise exhausted, overworked nurses and other care workers.
The minister’s time would be better spent thinking how he can keep nursing staff in their jobs. More digestible to nurses would be the carrot of a fair pay rise.