The Royal College of Nursing in Scotland is calling for greater recognition of the vital role played by support workers as part of this year’s International Nurses’ Day.
As well as celebrating the work of registered nurses, the body said it was keen to acknowledge the important contribution of the wider nursing workforce including the 50,000 healthcare support workers (HCSWs) working in the NHS and care homes across the country.
“It’s the time to recognise and celebrate the unsung heroes of the nursing workforce”
Many have been in post for a number of years and have in-depth knowledge and skills making them an invaluable part of nursing teams, said RCN Scotland.
However, it said it found that they were largely missing from national workforce plans, after carrying out a review of policy and strategy documents.
“HCSWs are the most visible for service users, but are the least visible in health and social care policy,” said RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe.
In Scotland, healthcare support worker is an umbrella term that covers a range of roles and job titles and encompasses staff who deliver both clinical and non-clinical services.
“We are calling for HCSWs’ voices to be heard as part of the government’s conversation on wider workforce planning”
These might include clinical support workers in hospitals to care assistants and senior care assistants working in care homes, noted the college.
RCN Scotland said HCSWs would have a key role in the development of integrated services that brought health and social care together, especially when it came to delivering more care at home.
It called for HCSWs to be better supported and represented in the workforce planning process. Ms Fyffe said International Nurses’ Day was the ideal opportunity to celebrate the achievement of these “unsung heroes of the nursing workforce”.
“Nurses’ Day is an opportunity to recognise nursing staff, and to thank them for the dedication and professionalism which they show day in and day out,” she said.
“It’s also the time to recognise and celebrate the unsung heroes of the nursing workforce who often feel overlooked and undervalued,” she said, describing them as “vital members of the nursing team”.
“They have the clinical skills and expertise to support registered nurses in providing safe, person centred care for patients and residents,” she added.
“On International Nurses’ Day, we are calling for HCSWs’ voices to be heard as part of the government’s conversation on wider workforce planning,” she noted.