The RCN Council must lobby governments to ensure that the retention of nursing staff matches service needs, nurses have said.
Nurses at the RCN Congress voted almost unanimously in favour of a motion, proposed by BJ Waltho of the RCN East Dorset Branch, to urgently address the recruitment and retention of nurses in the UK.
‘Ask any nurse, working in any specialty, in any organisation, are there enough nurses to meet service needs? And the answer will be a resounding no. Given that starting point, keeping the nurses we have is vital,’ she said.
She added that if the RCN Council is to lobby government, they need the evidence to support the difference that nurses make. ‘Unless we begin to articulate the contribution we make to our patients, our numbers will be cut and our skill mix diluted. We need to start talking about the value of nursing, not the cost, and why they can’t afford to let us go,’ she said.
However, non-voting member, Alison Twycross, said anecdotal evidence alone is not enough. ‘We already know that there is a link between staffing ratios and patient outcomes, and that specialist nurses make a difference to patient outcomes. But we need to have robust data to support our arguments,’ she said.
The motion was agreed by 99% of those present.