Why I’m passionate about safe staffing

 Maria Trewern 30 Jan 2018 Safe staffing

Maria Trewern says nurse staffing for safe and effective care is her priority as Chair of RCN Council.

Maria Trewern
I joined RCN Council in 2014 because I wanted to represent members in my region – the South East – on a national level and make a real difference to their working lives.
One of my aims was to use my position on Council to share concerns that members were raising from the frontline – highlighting examples where our members were working in unsustainable situations because of a shortage of registered nurses and the impact of this on the whole of the nursing team.
My interest in nurse staffing is no coincidence.
While I'm writing now as the newly elected Chair of RCN Council, my substantive role is Head of Workforce Insight at NHS Professionals. 
My career over the last 30 years has given me extensive experience of staffing management and workforce development, both permanent and temporary, across the NHS and independent sectors.
Particular areas of interest include organising internal banks and using management systems, such as eRostering, to reduce costs whilst maintaining safe staffing levels.

I know that safe staffing is a priority for many of you, too. The results of last year’s staffing report made for shocking reading and laid bare the depth of frustration and anxiety in the workforce. Such evidence cannot be ignored.
Every day we’re losing highly skilled and hugely experienced nurses from the system, which begs the question: who is going to pass on the skills to the next generation of nurses? 
Who is going to support our health care assistants and other health practitioners in the wider nursing team?
Work is ongoing to develop the RCN’s campaign for safe staffing legislation and I will use my own experience as a senior NHS manager, and as a previous lead steward and health and safety rep, to shape this.
What is already clear is that safe staffing cannot be defined by a simple target or a minimum standard. It’s about having the right number of nurses with the right skills mix needed to deliver safe and effective care, and genuine accountability at the highest levels when this fails to happen. 
We must never forget that registered nurses are an invaluable resource and action is urgently needed to reverse the alarming trend of nurses, new and experienced, leaving the system. 
Nursing staff must be valued, properly recompensed and given opportunities to learn and grow. After all, a happy workforce will provide much better care. If the work environment is good for nursing then it’s good for patients too. 
Achieve this, and half the battle is already won.
We’re only at the start of our journey, but I’m proud of what the College has achieved so far
I will continue to represent you as we move forward and make sure we have the nurse staffing needed to give patients the safe and effective care they deserve.

Maria Trewern RCN Council

Maria Trewern

Chair, RCN Council

Maria Trewern (formerly Nicholson) is Chair of RCN Council. Maria became a nurse in 1977 and has been both a Lead Steward and a Health & Safety Representative. She has extensive experience in the NHS and independent sector specialising in workforce strategy, development and staffing levels, and has an MSc in Healthcare Management. Maria was on the RCN Agenda Committee 2002 – 2005 and 2009 – 2011. In 2013 she was elected to the RCN South East Board and was previously Chair of the Buckinghamshire branch. She is Joint Vice-Chair of the RCN Finance & Investment Committee.

Page last updated - 05/09/2018