Social Care Shortage – The Issue
A recent report has highlighted an alarming issue among social care nurses in the UK. The Nuffield Trust organization has released a study showing that social care shortages have led to a vacancy rate of 9% among nurses working in the sector, with just over a third of nurses having left their role in the past 12 months, according to research highlighted in the think-tank report.
Why the Shortage?
Intense competition with the NHS for staff, plus the national shortage of nurses, and a lack of clear career paths for workers in the sector were all part of the problem, said the report by the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust. The nurses that do come out of school usually choose a steadier line of work, like nursing homes or healthcare facility nurses. Many nurses feel like the travel and wages do not compare to a steadier, more stable nursing gig. Social care nurses are threatening the quality of care for elders and putting many in jeopardy.
Our friends across the pond have shown us just how big of an impact the nursing shortage can play. Less funds means less nurses, and less nurses means a decrease in quality of care. According to the American Nursing Association, America’s 3 million nurses make up the largest segment of the health-care workforce in the U.S., and nursing is currently one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country. Despite that growth, demand is outpacing supply. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.2 million vacancies will emerge for registered nurses between 2014 and 2022. Many healthcare providers just don’t have the finances to pay nurses a higher wage or recruit a greater amount of nurses. What’s also interesting is that it’s been widely recognized that nursing school has become even tougher, also limiting the number of graduates.
Changing the Social Care Shortage
So what can we do about this social care shortage? How can we implement a plan to recruit, and more importantly, retain social care nurses? The first step would be to promote the benefits of not just social care, but nursing in general. Too many people thinking about going into the healthcare care associate nursing school with the gauntlet of passing the NCLEX. It’s time to invest in not just our nursing programs, but nursing schools as well so we have a new generation of nurses eager to help others. If the social care shortage can teach us anything, it’s that nurses play an integral part in taking care of our loved ones. It’s time to turn the shortage around and create a surplus of stellar nurses.