Care UK’s most senior nurse welcomes new interest in nursing as a career

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Care UK’s most senior nurse, Rachel Gilbert, Director of Care, Quality & Governance

Care UK’s most senior nurse, Rachel Gilbert, Director of Care, Quality & Governance has welcomed news that the pandemic has brought an increase in interest from people wishing to train as a nurse – but wants to remind everyone that nursing has many facets, not just hospitals.

Her comments come after Google published data on the numbers of searches about nurse training in the UK.  Those figures show that searches have gone up by more than a fifth during the last 12 months as coronavirus brought health and social care firmly into the spotlight. 

In January 2021, there were 72,805 searches for ‘how to become a nurse’, ‘how to train as a nurse’ and ‘retrain as a nurse’, increasing from 60,170 one year earlier. Not surprisingly, the 21 per cent increase in number of searches about nursing was higher than for any other profession researchers have found.

Care UK employs more than 600 nurses who work in a wide range of roles in its homes from nursing individual residents to providing policy and clinical leadership for over 10,000 colleagues.

Increasingly, nursing in care homes is rightly being viewed at a national level with parity to NHS nursing – evidenced by the Government’s appointment of Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE as the country’s first Chief Nurse for Adult Social care and the fact that the Queen’s Nursing Institute has just published a set of standards and a practice portfolio for the 36,000 nurses employed in the adult social care sector.

Rachel is keen to point out the professional and emotional benefits of a career in care home nursing.  She said: “People who are thinking of care homes as a place to progress their nursing career might have this outdated idea that the role would only be about issuing medication and managing incontinence.  Whilst these are important and fundamental needs of people; working autonomously in what are nurse led services, creates skilled nurses with a whole range of clinical and leadership abilities along with, professional development, and career opportunities. The skills, competency and knowledge base required by adult social care nurses is wide ranging and something nurses are respected for and are proud of.

“Our nurses identify and support the emotional, psychological, social, physical and cultural needs of each person, recognising their unique qualities and history. We do this by tailoring our care and support for each resident, putting them at the centre of their care, building meaningful relationships from admission to end of life and enabling them to maintain choice, independence, control and to live a happy and fulfilled life.

“What’s so special is that nursing in a care home allows you to really get to know a person and follow their progress – often for the rest of their life and that truly is a privilege. You can see how your skills, knowledge and holistic approach to care has made a real difference for them. That isn’t always the same situation in a busy local hospital.

“We too engage with and lead research, trials and work extensively with a wide range of partners in health and allied care services and roll out projects that seek to develop new ways of working that ultimately improve outcomes for people living in our homes. We have 18 homes rated as Outstanding by the CQC which is testament to the excellent quality of care and support we provide in our homes. Our nurses are to be applauded for the major part they play in this success.

Commenting on Professor Sturdy’s appointment as Chief Nurse, Rachel added: “Deborah is making a real difference to the narrative about adult social care nursing.  For example, for the first time ever there is a national award category in the Nursing Times awards solely for nurses working in this sector. This recognition is fantastic to see and has been long overdue.

“So my message to any of the thousands of Google searchers who are considering a career in nursing is please don’t just think of how your career might take you down a hospital path. Take a look at how fulfilling and fascinating care home nursing can be and the career opportunities such as ultimately managing your own care home, or being the head of care and clinical services, that providers like Care UK can offer.”

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Care UK’s most senior nurse, Rachel Gilbert, Director of Care, Quality & Governance

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