The UK’s four chief nurses and the nursing regulatory body paid special tribute to the continued ‘determination’ of the workforce, while urging their colleagues to take care of their own health and of their well-being before what should be a difficult winter.
A joint letter nursing leaders have recognized the “continuing pressures” in health and care services, including the “long-term consequences of Covid-19”.
“We recognize that you may need to work more flexibly, often in unfamiliar situations and under pressure”
Letter from Nursing Leaders
About 19 months after the start of the pandemic, they again thanked the nurses and their colleagues for their “continued professionalism and hard work during this time of relentless pressure.”
“We know that our nursing and midwifery professionals, and their teams, at all levels, work incredibly hard to provide the best possible treatment, care and support, often in complex clinical situations and changing circumstances,” the letter states. .
Similar messages from the NOCs and the Council of Nurses and Midwives had been sent during previous stages of the pandemic to describe the support in place for staff battling the pandemic.
As the winter months approach, which is expected to see increased rates of influenza circulating alongside Covid-19, leading nurses have acknowledged the “tough decisions” staff may be forced to make.
“We recognize that you may need to work more flexibly, often in unfamiliar situations and under pressure,” the letter added.
“We know this can be difficult and in some unprecedented situations you may need to deviate from established procedures for caring for people. “
The letter ensured that the “professional judgment” of staff was crucial and that employers should support their colleagues in these situations.
Responding to staff concerns that their decisions or practice could be called into question, especially if something went wrong, executives reiterated that the NMC would “always review the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors and context relevant to the environment in which a professional works ”.
In addition, they highlighted how essential it is for nurses to also look after their own health and well-being, and highlighted a range of local and national supports available.
A Royal College of Nursing analysis this week found a worrying increase in nurses’ illness, with nurses needing many more days off since the pandemic for mental health, respiratory illnesses or migraines.
Concerns about mental health and well-being have intensified since the Covid-19 outbreak, causing Breastfeeding time to launch his Covid-19: Are you OK? campaign to lobby for support of the profession.
The letter ended with an additional “thank you” to the workforce for “continuing to work so hard to take care of so many people in these unprecedented times.”
“Your work is making an immeasurable difference in the lives of people across the UK,” he added.
“We want to pay tribute to all of you for your professionalism, your innovation and your determination. “
The letter was jointly signed by Ruth May, head nurse for England; Professor Charlotte McArdle, Head Nurse for Northern Ireland; Professor Alex McMahon, Acting Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland; Sue Tranka, Head Nurse for Wales; and Andrea Sutcliffe, Executive Director and Registrar of the NMC.
The message comes at a time when stern warnings have been issued in recent weeks about the pressure on health and care services and their workforce across the UK, particularly in Northern Ireland and Wales.