In Conversation with Liz Jones, Policy Director, National Care Forum
How can we encourage more nurses into the social care setting?
Social care nursing is an essential part of the whole care and health system. For the whole system to work properly we need enough nurses in social care settings - without this pressure will increase on other nursing roles across the NHS, especially hospital settings.
Social care nurses are as skilled as those in NHS settings; this principle should underpin the training and curriculum for nursing students and be woven throughout their whole training. In an ideal world, nursing across health and care would be seen as flexible, with the opportunity to move between settings across the nursing career. It’s important to move away from silos and demonstrating that nursing in social care is a viable career path.
The nursing associate programme offers care workers a new avenue for moving to a career in nursing. It can be used as a tester of what you need to do in a nursing degree whilst working around current responsibilities and commitments. The Nursing Associate role brings a new, useful type of support for qualified nurses in social care, offering them the chance to support nurses in managing complex care.
What are the main opportunities for nurses in the social care settings?
When talking to our nurses in social care, they often tell me why working in social care is fantastic. The social care setting offers autonomy, responsibility, experience and leadership opportunities. They provide relationship centred care for the residents, families and staff teams. There is a real opportunity to make a difference to a person’s life within their own home rather than in hospital. Social care nurses develop a real and in depth understanding of their patients. They have the opportunity to build and develop skills which respond to residents’ needs, ensuring their practice is the best it can be to support and care for someone over a longer period of time. Social care also allows nurses to develop a breadth of skills across palliative and end of life care.
What are key areas of focus for the National Care Forum?
Digital confidence across the social care sector and helping it to become more digitally aware is a key area of focus for the NCF. Digital confidence will help the sector to become more efficient, have better health and care intelligence to help to improve the quality of care and free up time for nurses and other care staff to spend more caring time with their residents/ those they care for.
We work to influence the thinking and policy around social care, seeking to ensure the system is funded properly, thinking creatively about the longer-term changes needed in social care and what the future care system should look like. We also champion care within the whole health and care system. Social care is pivotal in helping people be independent and as supported as possible. The NHS will save your life and care will help you live it!
Another key area of focus for the NCF is collaboration, networking and shared learning across the not for profit sectors and beyond - working together helps improve the whole care system.
Liz Jones was speaking at the National Nursing Conference which took place on Wednesday 26th February 2020! The conference will be returning in 2021, and if you would like to attend you can register your interest here. You can find out more about the National Care Forum here: https://www.nationalcareforum.org.uk/