Never let it be said that Northerners don’t know how to celebrate! This Nurses’ Day we were overwhelmed by the level of engagement from our members and their colleagues from across the region as we marked international Nurses’ Day 2022.
It was wonderful to see so many of you taking the time to acknowledge the tremendous work you do and the vital role you play in our society. Nurses Day is an opportunity for staff everywhere to give each other a pat on the back and this year’s theme of #BestofNursing really brought out some fantastic examples of the rich variety in roles and responsibilities encompassed in the word ‘nurse’.
From a Community Mental Health nurse working in the Pennines to a Learning Disability Nurse up in Lancashire and across to a Nurse Practitioner at a walk-in clinic Merseyside, we were proud to be able to showcase some of the ways you make a difference to your patients and service users every single day. In amongst the chaos of our daily lives, juggling the myriad demands of work and home, I hope you personally found time to reflect on this yourself and to feel rightly proud of all you do.
A recent YouGov poll found that nursing is considered the profession which makes the biggest contribution to society but still our political leaders resist our urgent call for a pay rise to reflect the vital service that you provide and to halt the decline in staff numbers. We continue to await the announcement by the PRB regarding this year’s pay recommendation for those on Agenda for Change contracts but we remain hopeful, if not optimistic, that our call for a 5% above inflation rise will be acted upon.
On the subject of pay, our members on the Isle of Man remain in limbo awaiting the continuation of talks regarding pay for Manx Care employees. We have created a Facebook group for these members to be able to keep up to date with how things are progressing and would urge those of you to whom this would be relevant to join. Visit the page to make your request.
Frustratingly, the government used its majority in the Commons to vote against the amendment we had proposed to have an independent nursing workforce planning system included in the Health and Care Social Bill. This continued short-sightedness on the inevitable consequences for patients of continuing nurse shortages will inevitably lead to treatment delays and compromises in the quality of care received by thousands of patients every day, despite the Herculean efforts of our members to keep the ship steady. We will not be discouraged though from continuing to campaign for this absolutely necessary change and would urge you all to continue to raise concerns with your employer about any unsafe practices in your workplace. Only by continuing to show the real-terms dangers of understaffing will we be able to effect the change we need to see, for our patients and for ourselves.
Never is the personal effort and sacrifice of members of our profession more pronounced than on International Workers’ Memorial Day, which takes place on 28th April every year. I was deeply honoured to be given the opportunity to speak at the Workers’ Memorial service at the beautiful monument in St Helen’s. It was an intensely moving event and a powerful reminder of the risks taken by nurses and other members of the emergency services in putting themselves in harm’s way for the good of others. The service closed with this video, produced for Nurses’ Day two years ago, which remains a powerful and poignant reminder of how nursing will touch every life, whether that be at the beginning, the end or at any point in between. It is always worth another viewing.
Despite the lifting of virtually every restriction, I am well aware that the pandemic is very far from over and that the impact of Covid-19 is still being felt every single day by our members, both on a personal and professional level. Our advice pages are still being continually updated to help you in your professional practice and our member support services are always on hand should you need them. Find the details you need here.
As we head into the warmer months, I hope that the change in seasons will help to provide some respite from the relentless pressure of the winter and that you will have the opportunity at some point to rest and recharge. As always, our sincerest thanks for and pride in all that you do.