On this day last year, I wrote “People have had to dig deep throughout 2020 and again now in 2021 to find the resilience to protect their mental health and well – being. The additional socio-economic impact of this COVID 19 pandemic can only add to an already desperate situation and has yet to be fully realised. Key workers are exhausted but having to find ever more physical and emotional strength to keep going and keep everybody else going.”
I really didn`t envisage that the trauma, exhaustion, feeling undervalued and not listened too could ever reach its current level for our nursing workforce.
The Royal College of Nursing have already reported that 70 per cent of staff have considered leaving their jobs because they feel undervalued, but is anyone really listening?
The nursing workforce shortfall in Wales pre-dates the pandemic, and the past two years have exacerbated issues that have repeatedly failed to be addressed, including an aging workforce, poor pay and increasing demands.
While there are many nurses who still feel proud, passionate, and motivated there are also many who are fed up with being patronised, put upon and treated as subservient masochists.
People who are referred to mental health services often present with feelings of worthlessness, guilt, anger, anxiety, sleep disturbance, nightmares, and with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. As a mental health nurse, I would work with a person on their journey of recovery and explore what may be possible to change. So, if the person was for example in an abusive relationship, felt bullied, felt overwhelmed with traumatic events, felt trapped and unable to think clearly, a plan would be co-produced with realistic changes that could be made ie. Leaving their current situation or putting adequate support interventions in place that would have a positive impact. This brings us right back to what the Welsh Government and Health Boards need to be doing right now if they place any value on our nursing workforce.
The inexcusable pithy pay award not only adds insult to injury but clearly demonstrates the lack of appreciation and value that is given to nursing in all areas.
RCN Wales want to use Blue Monday 2022 to shout out to the nursing workforce in Wales you are totally awesome and to shout out to our politicians and service providers you are playing a dangerous game with the nursing workforce in Wales and this needs to change now.