England’s Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Prof Jane Cummings, has announced a major new campaign to improve recruitment and retention as part of plans to recognise the health service’s 70th anniversary this year.
The campaign will highlight the significant contribution of nurses and midwives over the past 70 years, along with identifying the wide range of career opportunities in the NHS today.
It is hoped this will improve the rate of recruitment and level of retention in the NHS, which has been suffering from recent staff shortages.
‘The shape of the UK’s future workforce is changing and people today will have job choices in areas that may as yet not even exist. But what will remain constant is the need in our society for extraordinary people who want to care for others,’ said Prof Cummings.
‘We want to highlight through this new campaign that nursing and midwifery provides the opportunity not only for an outstanding career, but the chance to have a profound and direct impact on the lives of thousands and thousands of people in a way that simply can’t be matched.’
Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), responded to the news: ‘Nursing is a modern and dynamic profession with caring for people at its heart. This campaign is a welcome focus on promoting nursing and we would be delighted to work with the CNO on this in England.
‘We must do anything we can do to attract people to the profession and shake off outdated perceptions of nursing. However, we have a huge task on our hands to recruit and retain the next generation of nurses when the current workforce is shrinking.’
The campaign, which will be run through a collaboration of organisations, is just one part of a number of measures announced by Prof Cummings.
Others measures include the establishment of 165 ‘nursing and midwifery ambassadors’ to boost the image of the profession, protecting the title of ‘nurse’ to ensure only registered nurses can use the title, and launching a 70-day national campaign to get elderly people back into their preferred environment so they are more comfortable and reduce the burden on the NHS.
Janet Davies said nurses have always been ‘at the heart of the NHS’ and supported the campaign’s aim to demonstrate the opportunities available. She also agreed that the title of nurse needed safeguarding: ‘It is important that the role and professionalism of registered nurse is protected and we welcome and support NHS England’s plans to protect the title ‘nurse’ in law.’
‘A career in modern nursing and midwifery has never been more rewarding, offering a huge range of opportunities for talented people. But what remains the same in 2018 as in 1948 when the NHS was founded, is the passion to provide expert care for those in need,’ added Prof Cummings.