Tackling the nursing shortage

The Open University | May 2018 | The Open University: Tackling the nursing shortage

Tackling the nursing shortage, the  new publication from The Open University considers the financial impact of temporary staffing to address the shortage, which the report describes this as “an expensive, short-term approach to plugging the gaps – [as] it costs the NHS nearly £1.5 billion a year.”  It also outlines many of the factors driving the shortage, suggesting that new routes into the profession, like apprenticeships, can help to plug the gap and future-proof the nursing workforce in the long-term (Open University).

The Open University
Image source: open.ac.uk

Using data obtained by The Open University under the Freedom of Information Act, the report calculates that if the hours  currently worked by temporary staff were instead covered by permanent nurses, the NHS could save as much as £560 million a year. This funding could otherwise be used to pay for continuing professional development or improved services.  

The report can be downloaded from The Open University 

In the media:

The Telegraph Nurse shortages cost the NHS up to £2.4 billion last year

The Independent NHS spending £1.5bn a year on temporary nurses as staff leave in droves, study reveals

Nursing in the digital age

The Queen’s Nursing Institute has published Nursing in the digital age: using technology to support patients at home.  This report is based on a survey of over 500 nurses working in the community and seeks to determine how far new healthcare information technology has changed in the last 6 years and how skills and community services have adapted.  The report makes a range of recommendations to both provider organisations and commissioners.

Dementia UK: ‘Together again’

Dementia UK have created a short animated film to show the differences Admiral nurses make in bringing families affected by dementia together again, even for the briefest of moments.

This animation explores those feelings of being lost in dementia – and how the support and guidance of an Admiral Nurse can help bring people back together again.


More about Dementia UK and the Admiral Nurse Service available here

Every nurse an eNurse

The Royal College of Nursing  (RCN), in partnership with NHS Digital,  and the Building a Digital Ready Workforce Programme,  is launching a UK-wide consultation to hear about the digital challenges faced by nursing staff.   The consultation seeks to learn more about  adapting to digital technologies, and the opportunities available to improve patient care.

rcn digital ready consultation
Image source: RCN. http://www.rcn.org.uk








The RCN will ask nurses across the country, working in different sectors:

  • What will the digital future of nursing look like?
  • What will help us to get the best out of the data and technology available?
  • What are the things that might stand in our way?
  • What are the great examples where things are working that we should share?

The results will support the RCN’s call for improved education, training and development on digital literacy.  The aim is that by 2020 “evey nurse will be an eNurse” – that is every nurse will be able to use technology and data to maximum effect for patients, carers and service users.

Further information on the Digital Ready consultation is available from the RCN’s website

Register now to join the conversation; the online workshop will run until 15 February 2018 link here. 



Nursing workforce

The Health Committee has published The nursing workforce.  This report examines the current and future scale of the shortfall of nursing staff and whether the Government and responsible bodies have effective plans to recruit, train and retain nurses.  The committee concludes that there has been too little attention given to retaining nurses which has resulted in more nurses now leaving than joining the professional register.  There are many causes for this shortfall, including workload pressures, poor access to continuing professional development, pay and a general sense of not feeling valued.

Dignity in health care for people with learning disabilities

Dignity in health care for people with learning disabilities | The Royal College of Nursing  

Image source: http://www.rcn.org.uk

This guidance aims to improve dignity in health care for people with learning disabilities.  It is designed particularly to support the nursing workforce but other health care and social care staff may find this useful.

The guidance concludes with information relating to the particular health needs that people with learning disabilities may have, and provides ideas on working in collaboration with other service providers.

Full guidance available here

The Role of Nurses in Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services

Guidance for commissioners, providers and clinicians on the roles of nurses in alcohol and drug treatment in England. | Public Health England

This resource describes the many potential roles of nurses in alcohol and drug treatment in England to help commissioners and providers of specialist adult alcohol and drug treatment services to recruit the right workforce to meet local needs.

The document outlines:

  • The roles of nurses working in alcohol and drug treatment including the contribution they can make to health and social care outcomes
  • The added value nurses can bring to alcohol and drug treatment
  • The competences and skills that should be expected of nurses working in alcohol and drug treatment
  • What is required to develop and maintain these competences

Full document: The Role of Nurses in Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services:  A resource for commissioners, providers and clinicians