May 17

Working in social care is 'so much more than nursing'

Posted: 12 May 2017

On International Nurses Day experienced consultant nurse Philomena O’hanlon reflects on her pride in the contribution this group of dedicated professionals make to adult social care.

I think it’s fair to say that being nurse in social care does throw up a range of unique challenges.

One day we might be using all our training to deal with an emergency and the next moment we might sitting down with relatives as their loved ones come into a social care setting.

As one of the 47,000 registered nurses who have chosen to work in social care I am proud of the contribution we make working alongside other dedicated professionals.

When I speaking to colleagues they describe the role as being a privilege’ and that it “provides the unique opportunity working with residents and families in equal partnership, creating a mutual respect which is difficult to replicate in many other specialities”.

I couldn’t agree more and is the only motivation I need when I come to work every day.

So what are some of the wider challenges for social care nursing?

The drive around hospital prevention over the last few years has increasingly found staff managing residents with more than one condition and often complex needs.

In addition to this there are national concerns regarding the lack of a defined career pathway, plus recruitment and retention concerns affecting nurses in care homes.

These challenges highlight the need to celebrate the excellent work highly trained and experienced nurses do in social care on a daily basis. We need to encourage nurses to take time to appreciate the difference they make in lives of people who access care and support and their relatives.

Some of the praise I’ve heard includes: “The positive welcoming ethos of the home is radiated by all who work there. I leave my mother knowing that she is safe, that her needs are recognised and catered for, and importantly that she is treated as a valued individual”

“They see beyond mum's dementia and get to the person she still is.”

Nurses in social care are proud of the values they uphold despite the challenges facing the care home sector. Day in and day out nurses still rise above such issues, focusing on delivering high quality, person-centred care on a daily basis.

International Nurses Day gives us an opportunity to forego modesty and celebrate that working in social care is ‘so much more than nursing’.

And yes blow trumpets!