Latest newsletter for nurses and nursing associates

Published on 07 June 2022

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Deborah Sturdy is the first Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care in England and has over 40 years of nursing experience in clinical practice, management, policy and research.

She spoke to us about the new health and social care levy, how it’s helping nursing professionals to meet their continuing professional development (CPD), and why CPD is so important for nurses and nursing associates.

Deborah Sturdy pic.jpg

I’m so privileged to be in a position where I can influence the issues that matter most to the health and social care workforce. It means being a voice of support and positive change for all of the professional carers working across social care. I want to see more incredible colleagues become confident leaders within a complex, constantly evolving, and rewarding profession.

Why did you become involved in social care?

Much of my career involved working in services for older people and those living with dementia. I was especially inspired by three women I looked after during a clinical placement as a student in a ward for older people. Back then, care was very institutionalised and it bothered me. It just wasn’t good enough.

As a student, I undertook agency nursing in care homes. I saw some amazing care but recognised that most people thought this aspect of nursing was a second-rate option. After qualifying, I did a six-month specialist course for nursing older people. As a ward sister, the connection between nursing and social care was paramount. As a researcher, my work was focused on care homes and assessment systems. I suppose it was a path of investigation which kept drawing me in. I have a strong sense of social justice and want to give everyone a fair chance.

What is the health and social care levy and why is it important?

It was encouraging to see the recent announcements of record investment - £500 million - in social care reform in England. This funding will help to support those in the adult social care workforce and provide new opportunities for their career development. The investment in CPD budgets will highlight our skills, experience and value. To see this move towards professional equity is incredibly positive.

Registered professionals will be able to access funds to support their professional development. This will allow them to choose the learning they need to develop their practice, and update and gain new clinical skills.

This is critical to maintaining competence and the ability to practice in such a complex and diverse profession. The funding will really help nurses and nursing associates to meet their revalidation requirements and support their personal and professional development.

This investment will also begin to transform the way we support the social care workforce as it will support a range of initiatives relating to nursing professionals’ wellbeing. This will include access to talking therapies, coaching for registered managers, nurses and social workers and improved access to occupational health services. We’ll also introduce a support programme for managers in their first year which will offer learning and development opportunities, peer support and mentoring.

Why is CPD so important for nursing professionals?

CPD is an essential part of being a nursing professional and an important part of our revalidation through the NMC. It informs our daily practice, making sure we have the right skills to do our job well. CPD offers another level of assurance to those in our care and their families that we’re competent in what we do. With the best available knowledge and evidence, we can come together with our peers in health and care to share and learn from each other.

This is the very essence of creating a profession which seeks to be the best and do the best it can for others. Whatever area of practice you work in, keeping your skills and knowledge updated is essential. I’m pleased that this CPD funding will support nurses and nursing associates to develop and progress.

Do you have any advice for nursing professionals in social care?

Social care nursing is complex. It requires a range of skills, is highly autonomous, and is truly a nurse-led service. Critical to this work is the support of our peers.

I’d encourage every nursing professional in social care to join the networks we have in place through the QNI Care Home Nurses Network and the QNI Infection Prevention and Control Network.

There’s also the:

These are places to find the latest news, share ideas and play an active role in the incredible social care nursing profession in all its diversity and creativity.  

I’d also encourage professionals to celebrate their successes and nominate colleagues for the Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care Awards. Let’s recognise all the good that nursing professionals and the wider workforce do in social care! I am proud to be the Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, but I am so much prouder of the nurses and professional carers who work within it. 

What else can I expect when I read this nursing newsletter?

You’ll also find an article about our latest annual registration data report and our May Council meeting in Derry-Londonderry. There’s also an article by Sarah Saunders, Lead Nurse at St Monica Trust, Bristol. Sarah told us about how her nursing experiences in social care have helped her to complete the revalidation process. Our last guest article is by Linda Bennetts, who recently retired from her role as NHS Director of Nursing. She spoke of how supervision and reflective practice is helping professionals to respect each other.  

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