Nursing dilemmas: time for professional support?
As 2020 is the ‘Year of the Nurse and the Midwife’ it is only fitting to take time to celebrate the many positive contributions made by the nursing and midwifery family to health care. Nurses and midwives at all clinical and leadership levels give much by immersing themselves in their occupation, and commit to participating in continuing professional development to ensure that delivery of care is up to date and evidence based. However, with the recognised shortage of 40 000 nurses and midwives (Rolewicz and Palmer, 2019), and the Annual Fitness to Practise Report 2018-2019 (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2019), showing that of the 698 237 registrants at that time, 5373 had concerns raised about them to the NMC, I wonder if as a profession we are doing all we can to support ourselves and each other?
The majority of the allegations raised to the NMC came first from employers, and second from the patients or the public. Of course, not all of the allegations raised would have been proven, and the NMC has a robust system of investigation that includes the input of lay members. The standards in the Code (NMC, 2018) act as a moral compass for all professional registrants in the UK. Usually, there are professional teams in which registrants work and in the hierarchy of command there is an identified nurse or midwife leader to whom registrants can turn for guidance and support. Individual registrants often feel the emotional and physical demands of caring, and they know they need to take care of themselves by managing stress levels and developing appropriate resilience, but does this allow for noticing the needs of another colleague and making the time to reach out and offer support?
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