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By Debbie le Quesne

Nursing homes and the RGN crisis

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Nursing homes across the UK are struggling to attract RGNs as the regulatory pressure mounts on the profession.

At a recent meeting in London of representatives from care associations from all over the country, delegates reported that replacing and keeping nursing staff was a growing problem.

I’m not in the least surprised.

Among the issues facing some nursing home RGNs are poor support mechanisms on critical, clinical decision-making, the unyielding demand for hands-on nursing care, not having immediate access to doctors, increased awareness of a blame culture, the clinical exposure of not having five or six other nurses on shift at the same time to help in crisis, and the noticeable increased dependency levels of admissions.

The problem of recruitment has been made more acute since the clampdown of foreign nursing staff and poor bed prices mean providers cannot match NHS contracts on salaries, sick and maternity pay, career opportunities and pensions.

One nurse, defending her decision to jump ship to the private sector, said the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with residents and their families helped offset the negatives of not having the might of the NHS supporting her.

She added, however, that nursing is harder on those who work in the care industry because of long hours caused by unfilled vacancies.

Somehow this seems wholly unfair. The care sector should be able to compete and not rely on personal ethics to drive nurses into job vacancies.

Sadly those ‘old school’ nurses are getting thin on the ground.

The nurse added: “A few years ago we saw nurses coming off wards to work in the sector when the NHS decided they had too many [nurses] and most of them struggled with all the other work they were expected to do.”

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