Just what does it take to keep a nurse in nursing? We’ve got the most appalling nursing shortage most trust chief nurses I speak to have ever experienced, and flu, norovirus and the weather have created the worst winter many have ever seen. It’s a perfect storm – quite literally – for nursing.
Earlier this week, Nursing Times travelled to Belfast to talk about the recruitment and retention issues faced by nursing directors in Northern Ireland.
We have done a series of round tables around England on this topic – seven to be precise – and we wondered if the same challenges to get nurses into the profession and stay within it exist across the Irish Sea. And so we took our round table on tour.
Nurses in charge of workforce in the country are all too aware that there is a supply and demand problem, and also know that they are all fishing in the same pool for their nursing talent.
“The solution is to make sure we sing about how attractive the profession is and do everything we can to support nurses in their careers”
So it was wonderful to see that all of its five trusts are working collaboratively to support each other, and are trying to find ways to keep hold of their nurses and attract new people into the profession.
They have thought about using social media, making sure potential recruits see Northern Ireland as a great place to live and carve out a good nursing career, and are considering how to retain their nurses by considering the options open to them around being more flexible, particularly for their nurses reaching retirement.
They have some advantages – Northern Ireland’s universities still have 12 applicants for every pre-registration nursing post because they have kept the bursary, and their post-registration education budgets sit under their chief nursing officer for Northern Ireland Charlotte McArdle, so continuing professional development funding is not in the same situation as in England.
But they have some challenges that are unique to their geography – trusts on the border could and are already losing nurses to the Republic of Ireland because of Brexit, a situation that will only worsen as the UK gets closer to divorcing from the rest of Europe.
The solution – which Northern Ireland’s chief nurses, like many others, have worked out – is to make sure we sing about how attractive the profession is and do everything we can to support nurses in their careers.
“We have a special session that is geared to helping you make that transition from trainee to newly qualified nurse”
This is something we at Nursing Times are dedicating a lot of time to this year. We have got six of our Nursing Times Careers Live events lined up around London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, and we start on 24 March in Bristol’s Mercure Grand Hotel from 10am to 4pm. So pop along if you are based in the South West, West of England or South Wales. You can drop in for an hour or so, or stay the whole day, it is up to you.
The events are designed to help nurses, just like you, plan their careers – with practical guidance on how to ace an interview, and find ways to develop yourselves and plan progression and development.
There are inspirational presentations from nurse leaders and, for students, we have a special session that is geared to helping you make that transition from trainee to newly qualified nurse.
We believe that nurses like you deserve to be valued and so we give away lots of freebies and prizes and we have even got an inspiring and fun session booked in with This Girl Can from Sport England.
We hope to see you there.