Nurses whom I have met since joining Nursing Times have been less than delighted with many aspects of their working lives.
Low pay, little respect, abuse, lack of consultation, scratchy uniforms and poor or expensive car parking administrated by over-zealous attendants top my straw poll of nurses’ sources of malcontent. The NHS pension scheme was the one thing they considered both an incentive and a thank you. After toiling at a job they still loved - however challenging - the ability to retire early enough to enjoy the fruits of their labour was, they felt, their just reward.
Abolishing final salary pension schemes is going to be a blow for many nurses, coming at a time when nursing already feels like something of a punchbag, with frontline cuts, pressure to perform under huge duress and constant media scrutiny of care.
The majority of nurses are women, many of whom take career breaks to raise families then return to the profession and work their way up into senior management positions. Coming to those posts later in life means they bring insight and life experience, which is hugely valuable in a career where people skills are essential. Yet these are the nurses who will be most severely affected by these changes, and it’s hugely unfair that the investment of time and energy in their later careers will not be repaid in full.
Also on the topic of rewards, this issue contains the Patient Safety Awards winners’ brochure. After the ceremony, one winner told me that I didn’t realise just how important these awards were to his team and thanked me for my involvement.
On the contrary, after seeing the finalists during the judging process and the winners’ euphoria, I know the significance of these awards. We at Nursing Times and our sister publication Health Service Journal are honoured to be recognising those achievements making vital improvements to patient safety. Congratulations to the 15 winners and all the finalists of our Patient Safety Awards.