Miss any of the news affecting the profession during September 2020? Catch up with our monthly summary of the main nursing headlines, as reported by Nursing Times.
Nurses to access clear face masks to improve communication
Nurses across the UK are set to have access to clear face masks in a bid to improve communication with individuals who rely on lip reading and facial expressions during the coronavirus pandemic.
The government announced on 9 September that 250,000 clear face masks would soon be delivered to NHS and social care workers, in order to help nurses and other staff communicate with people with conditions such as autism, dementia and hearing loss, where normal masks were proving prohibitive.
The clear masks, manufactured by US-based company ClearMask, are single-use, latex-free and are not intended to filter. They are designed for use indoors and at room temperature in ventilated, low-humidity environments.
Care minister Helen Whately said if the initial deliveries proved successful, she would boost supply to “make sure whenever a clear mask is needed, there is one available”.
World’s governments have ‘failed to prioritise’ nurses during Covid-19
Governments have been urged to address their “collective failure” to prioritise nurses during the coronavirus pandemic. An International Council of Nurses (ICN) report said that, as of 14 August, over 1,000 nurses had died from Covid-19 across 44 countries.
Government agrees to sign charter to ‘protect health workers’
Health secretary Matt Hancock has agreed to sign up to a new health worker safety charter that vows to protect staff from violence, biological hazards, and improve mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged governments to commit to the charter, published last month.
Europe will extend year of the nurse and midwife into 2021
The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife will be extended beyond 2020 into next year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced by the WHO in Europe.
RCN considers 2021 vote on re-joining global nursing federation
Discussions are underway at the Royal College of Nursing for a potential vote on re-joining the ICN. Ways are being considered on how to consult members ahead of a possible vote at next year’s RCN annual general meeting.
CNO announces £28m to restart international nurse recruitment
Funding worth £28m is being made available in England to “accelerate” the recruitment of nurses from overseas, following inactivity due to coronavirus. Half will support the arrival of nurses who have already been appointed by trusts and the rest will fund a “significant expansion” of overseas nurse recruitment during the remainder of 2020-21, said chief nursing officer Ruth May.
Nurses working under ‘damaging conditions’, warns report
Urgent action is needed to address “alarmingly high levels” of nurse stress, turnover and intentions to quit, which have been exacerbated by Covid-19, according to a report written by the King’s Fund for the RCN Foundation. It called for workplaces to be transformed to eradicate staff burnout and exhaustion, and for a further review of the impact of 12-hour shifts on mental health and wellbeing.
Government’s 50,000 nurse pledge ‘not based on modelling’
The government appears to be unaware of how many nurses the NHS in England actually needs and in what specialisms, according to a report from the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee, which warned of an “emerging crisis” in nursing. It said the government “could not show” its pledge to deliver 50,000 more nurses by 2025 was based on solid modelling.
‘Vital’ for nurses to take up flu jab this year, warns CNO
The annual call for health and care staff to take up the offer of a free influenza vaccination is more imperative than ever this year in light of Covid-19, England’s chief nursing officer has warned. Ruth May has made a direct appeal to nursing staff across the country to get the jab ahead of the winter.
Government announces new adult social care chief nurse role
A new chief nurse for adult social care role is to be created in England to help steer the workforce through the challenges of this winter and beyond. Recruitment for the post will begin this month.
Consultation launched on extension of Welsh nurse staffing law
Plans to extend safe nurse staffing legislation in Wales to include children’s inpatient wards have taken a step forward, with the launch of a 12-week consultation. The Welsh Government is now gathering views on changes to the law to include paediatric inpatient wards.
Emergency meeting of RCN will ‘give members space to air concerns’
An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the Royal College of Nursing will be convened “soon”, the new chair of the college’s ruling council announced last month. Dave Dawes said the EGM would provide members with a space to air concerns following the row over the RCN presidential election.
Long-standing leader of health visiting body to ‘step back’ from role
The Institute of Health Visiting has announced that Dr Cheryll Adams, who founded the organisation, will be stepping back from her role as executive director early next year. Current director of policy and quality at the institute, Alison Morton, will become acting executive director in January.
Influential director of RCN Scotland announces retirement
Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, has announced that she will retire from the college early next year, after 14 years in the top role.
Covid-19 risk in hospitals ‘lowest among intensive care staff’
The risk of Covid-19 infection among staff at the height of the coronavirus pandemic was lowest among intensive care clinicians, contrary to expectations, according to UK findings. Risk was highest in acute and general medicine, and among staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Analysis: Nursing and the quest for equality in NHS leadership
Nursing is the “most common route” for women to become chief executives in the NHS, according to a report from the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network.
New scoring tool ‘accurately predicts Covid-19 death risk’
UK researchers have developed an “easy-to-use” scoring system to help predict mortality risk in patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19. They said it could be used by clinicians to inform treatment decisions and to stratify patients into different management groups.
Half of returnees on NMC temporary register ‘might stay’
Almost half of the nursing professionals who returned to practice to support the UK coronavirus response would consider staying on permanently, a survey reveals. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has published the findings of a snapshot analysis of its Covid-19 temporary register.
Exclusive: Student nurses beg uni for ‘academic relief’
A formal investigation is underway at Cardiff University following complaints from some student nurses that they had been “set up to fail” in the wake of the pandemic. A group of final-year students has raised concerns about what is expected of them in the final months of their courses.
Overseas nurses offered new computer-based English test at home
Overseas nurses and midwives will now be able to take a language test required to join the UK nursing register on their own computers at home. The Nursing and Midwifery Council will accept results from a new computer-based way of completing the Occupational English Test.
ICU nurse captures the impact of Covid-19 on the workforce
An intensive care nurse has photographed the emotions and experiences of colleagues working on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic. Emily Gilhespy wanted the public to “understand the severity and the impact” the outbreak was having on nursing staff.