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Keeping safe as a healthcare professional working alone

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The NMC Code states that you should take account of your own personal safety as well as those you care for.

As nurses we could find ourselves in a dangerous or potentially compromising situation. It’s important we take steps to keep both ourselves and our patients safe.

There are steps that you can take to reduce the risk of danger and harm when working alone – it doesn’t matter if that is in the community, in accident and emergency or in the hospital.

The Royal College of Nursing provide a quick reference guide on keeping safe when working alone.

Keep your phone nearby

You should always have a way to call for help if you need it. Keeping your mobile phone nearby will allow you to contact fellow colleagues or the emergency services should you need assistance.

Share your location

Make sure you communicate your location to other members of your team. Ensure they know where you’re going, what your going to do and when they should expect to see you again.

Use alarm systems

Your employer has a duty to keep you safe. Lone workers should be issued with an alarm systems or a way to call for help if you need it.

Look at your surroundings

Is there anything around which is a cause for alarm? Is there something that could be used as a weapon, a dangerous animal, somebody being verbally or physically aggressive? Think about how you will get out if things get difficult. Make an excuse to leave early and call for help.

Make an excuse to leave

If you feel in danger withdraw to a place of safety. If you feel the situation escalating, use strategies to remove yourself. For example, “I just have to pop back to the car to get some notes” or “I just have to go to the other room to get some equipment”.

RUN. HIDE. TELL.

London Metropolitan Police advice is to; RUN – to find a safe place, HIDE – somewhere where your attacker can’t get to or find you and TELL – call 999.

Your own safety is paramount. It is vitally important that you do not try to deal with a potential attacker alone – call for help.

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Primary Care

Universities turn to Clearing as Nursing & Midwifery Applications drop by 8%

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UCAS figures show a drop of 8% in applications to Nursing & Midwifery courses – Universities have turned to clearing to fill gaps.

Experts are warning that there will not be enough new healthcare staff being trained to keep pace with demand as UCAS, the University Admissions Service, figures showed that there had been an 8% drop in students who had been placed into university this year compared to 2016.

Universities have been forced to offer the, usually over-subscribed, Nursing, Midwifery and Medicine subjects to students going through clearing.

The figures also reveal the number of ‘mature students’, people aged over 25, who have been placed into nursing courses has decreased by 12% since 2016.

Despite the low number of applicants the government announced 10,000 extra ‘funded’ places and an additional 21,000 mental health professionals. Figures that the Royal College of Nursing have heavily criticised.

Janet Davis, RCN Chief Executive, said;

“The longstanding pay cap is driving people away from nursing, and understaffing heaps pressure on those who are left. Most worryingly, we don’t have enough nurses to guarantee patient safety,” she argued.

“The government has promised 10,000 more health care professionals in the next five years, but we need transparency over how it intends to monitor its progress.

“We are calling on the government to publish the actual number of nursing students starting this autumn by the end of this year.”

Official figures how that admissions to Nursing and Midwifery courses have consistently fallen since the removal of the NHS Student Bursary which combined with a significant drop in EU workers could lead to a staffing crisis for the NHS.

NHS Digital revealed last month that over 11,500 Nursing and Midwifery vacancies remain unfilled in England.

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Primary Care

RCN supports the launch of the National Bereavement Care Pathway

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The Royal College of Nursing has announced it will be supporting the launch of the National Bereavement Care Pathway.

Led by stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands, the pathway is designed to improve care for parents and families who have lost a baby during pregnancy or up to 12 months after the child is born.

With support from the Department of Health, the new materials, guidance and training will be trialled at 11 sites in England, who will work with the project team to evaluate how well the NBCP can improve bereavement care.

The NHS sites, which include the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, have been chosen to be representative of geography, capacity and specialism.

The pilot will begin in October and is supported by a variety of leading organisations from the Lullaby Trust to NHS England.

Carmel Bagness, RCN Professional Lead for Midwifery and Women’s Health, said: “The loss of a baby is an absolute tragedy and it is up to health care staff to provide the best care possible for bereaved parents and families.

“This pathway could really help to improve the care they receive during this difficult time. We hope this pilot is just the first step towards better care throughout the country for parents and families suffering from this terrible loss.”

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