Associate feature: Remarkable, every day - but nursing's under pressure
Remarkable and innovative care is being delivered by registered nurses and nursing support workers, working within multi-disciplinary teams, across our health and care sectors.
But the nursing workforce was under significant strain before the pandemic and these pressures have been exacerbated further by the crisis. Staff shortages, high stress levels and unhealthy working environments are all having an impact on the provision of care and the wellbeing of staff. We have been highlighting these issues for years. This crisis has made it clear that things need to change to ensure that health and care services are able to meet future challenges robustly and sustainably.
All nursing staff deserve to be recognised for their unique contribution within the multi-disciplinary team and rewarded for the job they do. Our members feel undervalued and our last member survey showed a third of nursing staff were considering leaving the profession. This is why our Fair Pay for Nursing campaign is calling for a 12.5 per cent pay increase for nursing staff.
Ninety per cent of members have told us they are concerned about the welfare of themselves or their colleagues. This is why workplaces must support the health and wellbeing of nursing staff, with staff able to take their breaks, access appropriate break facilities and have their voices heard.
Staff are being spread more thinly with a reduction in skill mix within nursing teams – at a time when the clinical expertise of registered nurses is essential to meet the complex needs of patients and care home residents. Our members tell us time and again about the negative impact that poor staffing levels are having on their work, the people they care for and their wellbeing.
Action is needed to tackle unsafe staffing levels and ensure all health and care services have the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place. This is why we are calling for work on implementing the Health and Care (Staffing) Act to get underway again. This legislation is urgently needed to address the workforce crisis in a sustainable way and to ensure the needs of patients and residents are met.
Theresa Fyffe is Director, Royal College of Nursing Scotland
This piece was sponsored by Royal College of Nursing Scotland