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Ministers act to help ward sisters in Northern Ireland

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A report has been ordered into the role of the ward sister in Northern Ireland after concerns were raised about workload pressures by the RCN.

Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland Martin Bradley will carry out the report on the instruction of health minister Michael McGimpsey, who said the role was crucial to hospital care.

‘Ward sisters play a crucial role within our hospitals, often working in busy pressurised areas. The public rightly looks to ward sisters to set and uphold high standards of care,’ Mr McGimpsey said. ‘That is why I have agreed to look at this area seriously and have asked the Chief Nursing Officer to produce a report to see what extra support can be provided.’

Mary Hinds, director of RCN Northern Ireland, said: ‘The ward sister is essential to providing care based on dignity, humanity and compassion. We want the bureaucracy and paper work, which ward sisters have to do removed, to allow them to be more visible and engaged in clinical care.’

Meanwhile, student nurses in Northern Ireland will receive greater support too, after Mr McGimpsey pledged £2m to employ 35 hospital practice educators to support students on clinical placement.

‘We are already witnessing a shift away from hospitals and a greater focus on community nursing. Our student nurses must be equipped with all the necessary skills and expertise to deliver these new services,’ he added.

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