Understanding the critical role of nursing across a selection of UK and international case studies
Whether as part of a multi-disciplinary team, or as independent deliverers of care, nurses are central for delivering excellent patient outcomes and reduced costs. However, realising this potential within the FYFV framework will require the following:
Support in leading innovation in care. In many care settings, nurses are restricted from reaching their full potential. A report from the Republic of Ireland for example found that up to 20 per cent of a Registered Nurse’s time in care homes can be taken up with paperwork and administration. Freeing up staff to spend more time with patients will help reduce risks of deterioration and enable nurse leaders to maximise their resources.
A voice at the top table. This report demonstrates very clearly the critical role which nurses will play in making FYFV happen. Engaging nurse leaders and the RCN as early as possible will help to maximise the enabling contribution of the nursing profession in making future reform to the NHS workable and effective.
A long-term focus on recruitment and retention. This covers the explicit point made in the FYFV that pay and other working terms will need to change in the NHS to “fully reward high performance, support job and service redesign, and encourage recruitment and retention”. The ageing profile of the UK nursing profession combined with an aggressive overseas recruitment plan by countries such as the United States, further strengthens this point.
Improved access and funding for continuing professional development (CPD). The innovative capacity of the nursing profession depends on clear career progression routes supported by CPD. As the UK prepares for the introduction of revalidation in 2015, additional funding and support is needed to make sure that nurses are able to fulfil their regulatory responsibilities, without compromising patient-facing time.
A culture change to engage a new generation. Across the developed world, the recruitment of younger nurses is proving increasingly challenging. The growth in economic aspiration and a toxic media and political discourse has meant that nursing has been left behind as a career of choice. Political leaders need to actively promote the merits of the nursing profession, reaffirming it as a career of choice where aspiration, ambition and a commitment to care are all recognised and welcomed.