The perceptions of social care nursing has changed due to COVID-19.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) Chief Executive and Registrar, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, has highlighted this change and that it can hopefully inspire new entrants to the profession.
Speaking at the conference, Andrea mentioned the current knowledge of difficulties that the social care sector was facing. Such as, staff vacancy levels, financial uncertainty and minor integrated health and care workforce planning.
Andrea also talked about how COVID-19 has highlighted some difficult challenges like the disproportionate impact on staff from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds who often work in the social care sector, particularly nurses in social care.
Andrea also celebrated how the pandemic has broken through the perception of social care not having the same level of skill or value compared to those working in the acute sector.
She told the conference; “I was so pleased to be able to join other health and care leaders for such an important discussion that’s very close to my heart.
Adding; “while the skill, resilience, and bravery of our NMC registrants has been recognised more than ever before, we know that social care nursing in particular doesn’t receive the same level of support and public acknowledgement it deserves.
“I’m clear that we must continue to make the most of the huge opportunities we’ve now got, as a consequence of the immensely difficult times we’ve had, by standing up for social care nursing – not just in terms of older people, but in the interests of those people living with mental health problems, learning disabilities and physical disabilities who rely and depend on highly skilled nursing care too.”
Challenges and opportunities.
Trudi Barnett, Manager at Highwell House Nursing Home in Herefordshire, who also took part in the Care Talk conference, has experienced first-hand the challenges and opportunities for social care nursing as a result of Covid-19.
She spoke of how throughout this crisis the nurses within her group have supplied clinical support and guidance to their exceptionally skilled residential homes on a regular basis.
This collaborative working between nurses, managers and deputy managers led by an experienced provider with a “command and control” operation has resulted in all 6 homes within the group, including 270 residents and 300 staff members, all testing negative for the Coronavirus.
Trudi said: “In over 30 years of nursing, I have never felt that my career is in the spotlight quite like it is today. It is time for our voices to be heard. It is time for a light to be shone on the expertise and skills social care nurses demonstrate on a daily basis in managing chronic illness and multiple long-term conditions, all without the need for a hospital admission.
“Nurses in social care are ahead of the game. We are prepared, we are innovative, and we are driven.”