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Time to consider social care nursing as the fifth field of practice

20 June 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 12

The social care workforce is struggling, with an estimated 44% turnover rate across the UK and numbers entering into social care continually dwindling. According to The State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England report (Skills for Care, 2023) there are currently 152 000 unfilled workforce posts in social care.

It is estimated that social care contributed £55.7 billion to the economy in England in 2022-23 (Skills for Care, 2023), providing a positive boost in the current poor economic climate. But there are significant workforce challenges that have impacted the recruitment and retention of staff into social care. Some particular variables can affect turnover, such as access to training, and a lack of career structure, which may be a disincentive to some staff to continue working in the sector.

Care homes now support people with complex needs. Hence, the future of our social care nursing workforce is reliant on the higher education institutions to prepare future nurses for this environment. This requires a focus on person-centred approaches that will enable students to learn about ‘what matters to people’, as opposed to relying on knowledge about ‘what is the matter with people’. It is these salutogenic principles (a focus on the origins of health rather than those of disease) that support wellbeing that could empower students to understand the complexities of the individuals and families supported through social care and help students provide person-centred care.

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