Today, Tuesday June 29, 2021, the Independent Sector Nursing Data Report 2021 has been published.
The report is aptly titled ‘A Look to the Future – Achieving the Nursing Vision.’ It provides an updated view of nursing in care homes and in the independent social care sector in Scotland with a look to the future of nursing in the sector. This report is a follow-on to the Independent Sector Nursing Data 2018 report.
We wanted to gain an updated view of issues in social care nursing and issued a survey to members on topics where we are aware of areas of longstanding difficulty, such as recruitment, turnover and retention. We also asked about nurse agency use, learning and development, and the areas where we as an organisation might help promote further development, such as nursing access programmes and prescribing courses. All questions considered the context of the pandemic as this has had a considerable effect over the past year and a half.
Social care nursing requires distinct expertise; nurses fulfil a complex and multi-faceted role where they enable people with care and support needs -many of whom have multiple co-morbidities and complex health issues- to live positively in homely settings. They support individual health conditions and understand the impact this has on their social and community life. We wanted to ensure the report focuses on the importance and perception of this area of nursing, with mention of where we can make improvements, not least through how social care nursing is valued and how to continue to support students and colleagues in years to come. It is time that our social care workforce is provided with parity of pay, terms and conditions, and are seen with equal value to NHS colleagues to have sustainable and inclusive growth.
We hope this report paints a clearer picture and provides greater insight into the significant workforce challenges facing nurses in the independent social care sector, where data has previously been limited, and therefore support a wider range of stakeholders to better understand the criticality of the issues. Further, it can lead to collaborative working around some practical solutions to address the challenges experienced by providers as well as to the continued learning and development of the nursing and care workforce. As an organisation, we will continue to challenge how people view, value and use language around social care to shift mindsets and demonstrate the real importance the sector provides to society.