Do you feel like you’re special? Liked you’re valued? Like the government is working hard to incentivise you to stay in the NHS?
No, I didn’t think so. I am glad you do, but like you, I sometimes wonder why you do.
In the last seven days, I have had two experiences that have made me wonder this more deeply.
The first was at Nursing Times Careers Live in Bristol on Thursday. As I took to the stage to welcome delegates to our careers fair, I articulated the value of the nursing delegates in front of me. I urged them to go out into the exhibition floor and be sure of their worth when they approached the employers, all of whom had paid money to secure stands at our event to meet and attract nurses like them.
“I can understand why my comments made them feel I was detached from the real world”
As I enthused about their ability to shop around for an employer of their choice, I saw a few nurses shaking their heads, and I can understand why my comments made them feel I was detached from the real world. Because of course, while it is true that employers are desperate to hire nurses, and it is totally an employee’s market right now, there isn’t a lot the NHS can do to make their staff feel valued.
You can’t get more than a 1% pay award, flexible working isn’t on offer at many organisations, the benefits have decreased in value, oh yes, and the job has got a lot tougher with a lot fewer people to help you do it well. It is hardly a sales pitch is it?
“There isn’t a lot the NHS can do to make their staff feel valued”
One in three nurses is due to retire in the next 10 years. The number starting training to become nurses isn’t rising to keep pace with those leaving the profession and with the bursary gone, we have no idea of the impact of paying for your degree on retention of nurses in undergraduate nursing courses. We are also now seeing a dramatic decrease in the number of nurses joining the NMC register from overseas – and because we are failing to reassure those already working here from overseas that they have a guaranteed job, we are losing them too.
If you set out to get rid of as many nurses as you could from the NHS, this would be how you would do it. So am I cynical when I say I think the government is trying to derail the NHS? Or just calling the facts as I see them?