New report on nursing emphasises need to change perception of careers in social care
Scottish Care has published a new insights report on nursing in social care today (Thursday 12 May 2022) as part of International Nurses Day.
The report titled ‘Hearing the nursing voice: Listening to Independent Sector Social Care Nurses’ is a follow on from the 2016 report – ‘Voices from the Nursing Front Line’, capturing the experiences of frontline registered nurses working in the independent social care sector in Scotland. The report depicts the rewards and challenges of social care nursing, whilst highlighting the importance of nursing within the sector as well as the specialism of the role.
‘Hearing the nursing voice: Listening to Independent Sector Social Care Nurses’ is based on a qualitative study of approximately 84 participants through one-to-one interviews and a focus group. Most of these participants are Registered Nurses, with a variety of different roles in care home and care at home settings.
The research identified four areas of particular expertise, described in the report as ‘Principles of Practice’, which help to define and describe nursing in social care. These include:
- Building relationships with residents and relatives
- Supporting wellness
- Being a visible and compassionate leader
- Sharing knowledge and empowering others
It also found that there is a continued stigma associated with social care nursing, especially in care homes. Some of this stigma has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, with misguided political decision making and disproportionately negative media coverage serving to devalue the role of nurses in social care and massively impacting this workforce. Nurses from the study reported that they feel that they are negatively perceived by their peers, professionals, the public and the media. The report highlights a continued lack of understanding of the role of nurses in social care, including it being viewed as a ‘low status career choice’, and this negative image contributes to the nursing recruitment and retention issues currently faced by the social care sector.
Despite these challenges, participants also spoke about their love for their role and how proud they are of being a nurse in social care, with the research findings reinforcing the crucial leadership, value and support that nurse in social care provide for people who live and work in care homes.
The author of the report, Dr Jane Douglas, Scottish Care’s Transforming Workforce Lead for Nursing commented:
“All the nurses who took part in the study were proud of what they do, their passion and compassion shone through. Nursing in social care is a specialist complex role, which is sometimes challenging but also dynamic. Historically the role has been an enigma: sometimes invisible, often misunderstood and undervalued. This report provides a real insight into the nursing role in social care with an aim to define the role and help to change perception.”
‘Hearing the nursing voice: Listening to Independent Sector Social Care Nurses’ was launched at the ‘I feel, I see, I imagine’ virtual nursing event in celebration of International Nurses Day 2022. This event was organised by Scottish Care, the representative body for independent social care services across Scotland, with key speakers including the former Director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland (RCN Scotland), Theresa Fyffe and the Chief Executive of the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS), Clare Cable