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Could you do more to support new nurses?

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There are several parts of my job that make me realise how lucky I am to be the editor of Nursing Times.

I am fortunate enough to have a job that lets me witness the kindness offered by nurses midwives when I am visiting a dementia unit, surgical ward or maternity unit, and to enjoy conference presentations by nurses revealing how they have changed care for the better. Sometimes what I see is beautiful, sometimes inspiring, sometimes ingenious – often all three.

”Sometimes what I see is beautiful, sometimes inspiring, sometimes ingenious – often all three”

Presenting the Student Nursing Times Awards, the Nursing Times Awards and the Patient Safety Awards are also highlights of my year. It is a real privilege to do this job and recognise the outstanding care being provided by nurses from all care settings. It makes me feel humble and proud of the difference nursing can make. I frequently want to stand up and applaud or cheer the nurses I meet. I want to champion them and the difference they make.

But despite this I frequently worry that we don’t do enough to support those working in the caring profession. And I see evidence of that all the time.

A few weeks ago at the Nursing Times Careers Live event in London in May, I ran a series of learning sessions to support attendees in their careers.

Speakers included former Royal College of Nursing chief executive Peter Carter talking about how to manage your career and development, and Diane Sarkar, director of nursing at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Trust on how staff nurses can handle the Care Quality Commission inspecting their hospital, as well as sessions on how to support you through revalidation, top up your diploma to a degree, get back into education, or ace an interview, and what it takes to become a ward sister.

”There is very little to support newly qualified or staff nurses who want to do a good job”

I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth repeating.

While I run events for senior nurses all the time, there is very little to support newly qualified or staff nurses who want to do a good job. When we provide a free event such as Nursing Times Careers Live, these nurses soak it up because they crave support and advice.

”Can you offer advice and help a nurse find their next role or help them grow in their current one?”

It is so rewarding to develop an event for this audience because there is so little out there to help them, and being able to connect them with role models and people who can support their career decisions feels like we are giving them power to carve out a rich and varied career.

And nurses deserve this. I am hoping to see more enthusiastic attendees at Nursing Times Careers Live on 11 June in Bristol (you can register for free here: live.nursingtimes.net). But in the meantime, look around you. Is there a nurse you can help to support or coach in their career? Can you offer advice and help a nurse find their next role or help them grow in their current one?

Nursing tends to be very giving, but we should also remember that valuing and supporting each other is vital for the future of the profession, and nurses must care for each other if they are to effectively care for the patient.

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