COVID-19 has changed perception of social care nurses, says NMC

Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) chief executive and registrar, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, has highlighted how the COVID-19 crisis has changed the perception of social care nursing and can inspire new entrants to the profession.

Andrea (pictured) was among the keynote speakers at ‘The New Normal’ – a virtual conference for challenging times in social care – hosted by Care Talk.

She said: “I’m clear that we must continue to make the most of the huge opportunities we’ve now got, as a consequence of the immensely difficult times we’ve had, by standing up for social care nursing – not just in terms of older people, but in the interests of those people living with mental health problems, learning disabilities and physical disabilities who rely and depend on highly skilled nursing care too.

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“Most importantly of all, improving the perception and recognition of social care nursing is a shared responsibility of all of us who lead, manage and work in health and care services. It is incumbent on all of us to promote, champion and strengthen our social care nursing community – who really are the heart of our local communities – now and for the future.”

Trudi Barnett, Manager at Highwell House Nursing Home in Herefordshire, highlighted the challenges and opportunities for social care nursing as a result of COVID-19.

She said: “In over 30 years of nursing, I have never felt that my career is in the spotlight quite like it is today. It is time for our voices to be heard. It is time for a light to be shone on the expertise and skills social care nurses demonstrate on a daily basis in managing chronic illness and multiple long-term conditions, all without the need for a hospital admission. Nurses in social care are ahead of the game. We are prepared, we are innovative, and we are driven.

“Going forward, I now hope attitudes will change. I hope there will be the realisation that nurses in social care are as skilled, if not more so in certain areas than our NHS colleagues. It is finally time to shine the light brightly on our achievements. I hope learning from COVID will enable the world to see what a vital part nurses in social care have to play in the future care of the older people in our communities.”

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Lee Peart

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