Time for nurses to stand together across health and social care

Theresa Shaw, FoNS Chief Executive

Dr Theresa Shaw (NursD, BA (Hons), RNT, RN - Associate Facilitator

A tweet posted by Anita Peet MBE @PeetAnita, Managing Director of Wren Hall Nursing Home, over the weekend, immediately struck a chord with me…

‘We need to stop professional snobbery from NHS RNs [about] social care nurses. During CHC DST* meeting the NHS RN stated ‘now the Professionals will agree the score’ – this meant the 2 NHS RNs and the Social Worker despite 2 Social Care RNs being present’

It was picked up pretty quickly by others too, with Richard Adams, CEO, Sears Healthcare, tweeting: ‘This happens all the time. We have a care home that delivers really great end of life care. Hospital not wanting to discharge to us because the individual had catheter insitu and needed insulin twice a day – didn’t think we’d manage that. So much work to do to change perceptions.’ Richard’s comments are something I have heard from many nurses working in care homes who are often left frustrated and distressed when for example, a person in their care has to be admitted to hospital for an IV infusion – something they would be perfectly competent and confident in providing.

Surely, the time has come for nurses across our health services to take a step back and look at the work of care home nurses and acknowledge the great scope of expertise and care they offer. As nurses wherever we are working we should strive to work more collaboratively and supportively. We should have a collective pride in our profession, and not measure very different knowledge and skills sets across care settings against each other. If care is to be truly integrated, we need to recognise the strengths and expertise of those working across all sectors and services, so that these can be used to enhance the experience of patients, residents and families.

Over recent weeks, I have been heartened by the commitment of the new CNO for England, Ruth May, and her call for nurses to work more collaboratively. This is being reinforced through the use of #teamcno on Twitter. Today I notice that attendees at the Nursing, midwifery and care staff – Leading transformational change across health and care conference in London are using #teamcno to reinforce the CNO’s key messages – that we should be proud to be nurses, and work collectively together with one voice, because we are stronger together. I am sure this sentiment is one that would be equally supported across the whole of the UK.

NHS Continuing Healthcare Decision Support Tool

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