Nurses need support to get care right

 Alison Manners 12 Jun 2018

Continual professional development (CPD) is not an optional extra for nursing staff in care homes, says Alison Manners.

I have worked in a variety of learning and development roles for over 26 years but one thing never seems to change – when funding is stretched, investment in training, learning and development for nursing staff always seems to be the first budget that is squeezed. 

Continual Professional Development (CPD) is not an optional extra for nursing staff in care homes. Both nurses and care assistants/HCSWs working in care homes are regulated and are required under their respective code of conduct and code of practice to develop their knowledge and skills. But in reality - nursing staff across all roles and levels of practice are reporting difficulty accessing and completing CPD. 

Recruiting and retaining nursing staff within the care home sector is a huge challenge for employers. Because of staff shortages, nurses sometimes don’t get released and often miss out on learning and development opportunities. When staff are not developed they often feel unvalued and leave which fuels the ongoing recruitment and retention problems. CPD is not just important for ensuring safe and effective care for patients but it’s also important for staff to feel motivated and valued by their employers. International evidence shows that CPD is vitally important for nursing staff in terms of professional and personal development and in contributing to improved patient outcomes and increased public confidence. 

The predicted rise in the number of older people means that residents in care homes are increasingly requiring complex care, treatment and clinical interventions. These increasing demands require efficient, supported and structured development for CPD for health and social care practitioners. Recipients of care have a right to access health and social care practitioners who possess up-to-date knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to their sphere of practice.

Healthcare professionals also have a duty to keep their professional knowledge and skills up-to-date through a continuous process of learning and reflection. The RCN is here to help members achieve this through self-directed learning, courses, study days, workshops, events and conferences, shadowing, studying, or volunteering.

Nursing is at the heart of everything the RCN does. We’re committed to equipping nursing staff with the knowledge and innovation to transform patient care so we have a motivated, sustainable workforce fit for the future.

Alison Manners

Alison Manners

Professional Learning and Development Lead

Alison is RCN Scotland's Professional Learning and Development Lead with responsibility for, amongst other things, RCN Scotland rep training and healthcare support worker development. 

Page last updated - 05/09/2018