Safe care and fair pay
The shortages of registered nursing staff, an appropriate skill mix and overall staffing levels to perform the fundamental and skilled elements of safe and effective nursing care across the UK remain at crisis level. This crisis is further exacerbated by the impact COVID-19 is creating in the UK. Despite the recent mandated use of workforce and workload planning to establish the nursing workforce, nurse staffing remains poor throughout the UK. A report published in 2020 discussing the 2019 state of nurse staffing levels across the UK revealed that there are still challenges in achieving safe nurse staffing (Royal College of Nursing, 2020). Longstanding concerns over staffing levels will not abate until there are long-term solutions identified to address recruitment and retention of staff. COVID-19 has lifted the lid on the appalling state of nurse staffing levels.
Nurses often work without the proper time and resources to provide care that meets the needs of patients. There are serious issues associated with nurses having to cope with the impact of staffing shortages on care provision and, at the same time, dealing with the worry of trying to balance a responsibility to the employer with ensuring that the tenets enshrined in our Code and professional accountability required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2018) are adhered to. It should also be noted that the employer has a duty of care to staff, which is a legal obligation and just as important as all other rights at work.
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