What Is The Future For Nursing?
The nursing sector is at a pivotal juncture. Recent years have seen a marked decline in the number of nurses across the UK, fuelled by factors including greater numbers of nurses retiring early, the increasing difficulty of recruiting sufficient numbers from abroad and increases in workplace pressures. But though there is no doubt that nursing – and the health service as a whole – faces a very challenging climate, there is cause for an optimistic future for nursing.
The hard work that nurses contribute to the NHS has not gone unrecognised. Increasingly, policies are being put in place in order to improve the quality of life for nurses, make improvements in staff training and make sure that staff are retained. Below, we set out some key areas which are likely to affect how nurses work, and which will ensure the future for nursing looks bright.
Staff Retention Strategies
Over the past few decades, the number of nurses has been falling and many hospitals around the country have been struggling to recruit new ones. As a result, a number of strategies are being developed to make sure that existing nursing staff are retained, with the NHS even releasing a staff retention guide for employers.
Recommendations include providing better pastoral support to nurses in the early stages of their careers; developing flexible working arrangements; establishing career planning strategies and clear development opportunities and improving the quality of line management. All of these policies are designed to create a workforce which will be more supportive of their nursing staff, where nurses will be able to grow and develop to the best of their abilities.
A Future For Nursing?
In addition, the days of nurses being seen as secondary to doctors are a thing of the past. The level of skill and responsibility required of nurses far surpasses what was required of them 70 years ago, at the founding of the NHS. The role of the nurse is constantly changing, calling for a workforce that is adaptable, dynamic and willing to learn.
One of the key drivers of this change is that nurses now have to be able to support patients with a number of chronic illnesses – Type II Diabetes chief among them, calling for a higher level of specialist knowledge. Nurses are now more likely to be involved in long-term research or training, and also need to be tech-savvy to adapt to the greater role that bedside technologies are beginning to play on the ward.
A Variety of Pathways
In 2015, the role of nurse associate was introduced, in order to provide support to graduate nurses and also offer an entry route to graduate-level nursing. The future for nursing is likely to see an even greater degree of this type of specialisation. For instance, the role of community and district nurses is likely to expand considerably over the next decade in order to provide adequate levels of care in the community to an older population living with chronic and co-morbid health conditions. This means that the sphere of nursing will offer a variety of entry points and a greater variety of career paths open to ambitious young students.
Build Your Own Unique Nursing Career
It’s clear that the world of nursing is still much valued and can provide a fulfilling career for many. As we have seen above, quality of life and flexibility are key considerations for many of today’s nurses, and there are now more ways to work which offer higher levels of flexibility, so that you’re able to build the kind of life you want. If you are seeking flexible working options, take a look at our current vacancies to see if there is anything that suits you.