The Royal College of Nursing has today launched a new campaign to help nurses make the case to the employers for improvements to their workplaces.
The college said it was calling on employers to recognise that healthy staff could deliver better care for patients.
It has created a set of resources to help nursing staff demonstrate the benefits of a healthy workplace – through reducing staff sickness, improving staff wellbeing and improving patient care – to their employers.
“By treating staff fairly and with dignity, employers get a happier environment for care and lose fewer staff through sickness or high staff turnover”
As well as helping staff to ask for what they need from employers, the campaign resources are also intended to support nurses in their own self-care, the college said.
In is now nearly six years since a major report – commissioned by the government and led by Dr Steven Boorman – called for greater attention to be paid to the health and wellbeing of NHS staff.
As well as the conclusions of the Boorman review, poor health and wellbeing among nursing staff is a recurrent theme in surveys carried out by Nursing Times – with high stress levels, long shifts and poor diet common factors.
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Kim Sunley, the RCN’s senior employment relations advisor, said: “The purpose of this campaign is to demonstrate the benefits of a healthy workplace, which is important everywhere but particularly where there is such an impact on patient care.
“By treating staff fairly and with dignity, employers get a happier environment for care and lose fewer staff through sickness or high staff turnover,” she said.
Ms Sunley said the campaign resources were a “simple and straightforward” way of helping staff to make the case for improving their own health in the workplace.
They include practical tips and examples of healthy workplaces. They will also help nurses to care for themselves, and to implement their own strategies for improving their wellbeing, she said.
“Healthy workplaces are something all staff have an interest in and can help to deliver,” she said. “By doing so, they improve not only their wellbeing but their ability to care for patients too.”
The RCN identified examples of healthy workplaces as those that promoted a “good work-life balance” and safety, and which designed jobs that gave employees a “degree of autonomy and control” and provided equal access to training opportunities for all employees.