Improving support systems to safeguard the mental health of NHS nurses
The Government has made a pledge to revamp the current support mechanisms for NHS staff, such as nurses who experience mental health problems as a result of work pressures. This pledge follows the publication of a report by Health Education England (HEE) (2019) on the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff and learners, which was commissioned last year. Plans to give staff immediate access to dedicated mental health support will be considered as part of the upcoming workforce implementation plan.
Many nurses and other health professionals work in emotionally challenging situations, providing optimum care to service users day to day. It is interesting to note that the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, may well have experienced significant emotional trauma during her historic quest to provide nursing care for the sick and wounded during the Crimean War in the mid-19th century. When she returned to England, she was said to have been aged by illness and exhaustion, and suffered long-term depression that only began to abate in her older years (Mackowiak and Batten, 2008).
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