Portraying nurses as superheroes has positioned added strain on exhausted staff, Wales’ prime nurse has stated.
Speaking forward of International Nurses Day, the chief nursing officer for Wales stated the NHS confronted an unsustainable staffing hole.
There are greater than 1,700 nursing vacancies in Wales, in accordance with the Royal College of Nurses (RCN).
Sue Tranka stated unrealistic expectations on workers following the Covid pandemic was not serving to.
At the beginning of the pandemic, photographs of medical doctors and nurses as cape-wearing superheroes sprung up on every little thing from avenue artwork to mugs.
Ms Tranka stated whereas it was appreciated by workers, it is also unhelpful.
“It put an additional burden on people who are human beings,” she stated.
“It’s a little unhelpful having that narrative because it implies we are flawless and will turn up every day on top form – you just can’t do that.
“I’d need to change that rhetoric – we’re degree-trained people who come to work every single day eager to do one of the best that we are able to.”
While there has been a 69% rise in the numbers of nurses being trained in Wales, retention remains a major issue.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, 1,458 newly-registered nurses joined their professional register, but 1,243 left, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
It means NHS Wales spent an estimated £360m over the past five years on agency nurses, midwives and nursing assistants.
“It’s not all about pay. Yes they need to be rewarded pretty, however they need to give nice care and so they additionally need to work flexibly,” stated Helen Whyley, RCN director in Wales.
“Unless the NHS goes to accommodate that, in in the present day’s market there are many alternatives elsewhere.”
More than 400 nurses from across the world are expected to come and work in Wales this year through a new Welsh government programme.
It is a route Ms Tranka took herself, having trained in South Africa and being recruited to work in the NHS in Sunderland in 1999.
However, she believes international recruitment is a short-term fix and Wales must look to homegrown nurses for a longer-term solution.
“Health Education Improvement Wales is enterprise a bit of labor round workforce planning at the moment – that is the primary time we may have accomplished such a complete piece of labor in Wales,” she stated.
“That will inform us not simply concerning the variety of nurses we’d like however the kind of workforce we require across the affected person.”
She said that may mean a mix of apprentices and cadets to advanced practice and nurse consultant roles.