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‘The powers that be must never forget the workforce’

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Nurses and the wider NHS workforce are rightly viewed as the service’s most precious resource. But, as has been well documented by Nursing Times, it is also a resource that has been neglected in recent years with a multitude of pressures building up, seemingly without end.

In our workforce special this month, Nursing Times is seeking to highlight both the challenges and potential solutions across a range of issues affecting staffing. 

On a positive note, in this month’s Nursing Times, we are showcasing articles in our clinical section looking at how nurse apprenticeships can grow a local workforce, and how data can be used to demonstrate the impact of nursing on patient outcomes

Meanwhile, our exclusive survey, carried out with Unison and Managers in Partnership, shines a light on the views of nurses about line management, both as those who are managed and as managers themselves. Line managers, especially those at ward and department level, often find themselves in the position of the so-called “squeezed middle”.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey showed managers were often struggling to find the time to provide meaningful support and advice to staff and were under increasing pressure to juggle conflicting demands. Significantly, more than 80% of respondents said they felt they were under more strain now than 12 months ago.

The survey findings are set to be discussed at our inaugural Workforce Summit and Awards on 4 October. With this new event, we want to provide a forum for senior nurses to debate the key challenges they face, while also celebrating innovation and excellence across the broad spectrum of practice of nurses and other healthcare staff.

The awards section of the event will feature the great work being done in 11 categories, from ‘best employer’ to ‘best place for learning and development’, and from ‘best use of technology’ to ‘best diversity and inclusion practice’. 

I was struck by the strength of the entries on recruitment, preceptorship, and wellbeing and staff engagement, which gives me hope that employers are on the right track to keeping hold of vital staff.

The strong message from all of this is that the powers that be must never forget you, the health and social care sector workforce, and must keep striving to find ways to maintain your drive, energy, morale and numbers – for all our sakes.


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