Bolstering the voice of nurses and midwives in Doncaster

Our very own Zara Head – supporting Nursing Now England

Following the launch of Nursing Now England earlier this week, Doncaster CCG will work with nurses and midwives across the borough to strengthen their voice and ensure their leadership is recognised at every level.

Launched by the country’s top nurse, Professor Jane Cummings, Nursing Now England is a national campaign which aims to encourage more people to consider nursing and midwifery as careers and help to retain our staff by recognising and celebrating the work of nurses and midwives, along with the huge impact they have for patients to improve their health and wellbeing.

Nursing remains the most trusted profession in the country and this is down to the hard work and determination to provide excellent patient care. Despite this, a number of challenges face nursing and midwifery professions.

Nursing Now England aims to:

  • Ensure nurses and midwives expertise is at the heart of shaping future healthcare policy
  • Supporting the media to better reflect and promote the diversity of nursing and midwifery as desirable professions and
  • Encourage nurses and midwives to work at a local level to improve the way they interact, communicate and learn from each other.

Representing Doncaster at this week’s national event was Zara Head, Lead Nurse for primary care quality. Zara has been a nurse for more than 25 years and her work at Doncaster CCG is focused on ensuring that both general practice and community nursing enhances and improves patient outcomes, as well as supporting people to manage their own health across local communities.

Zara is part of a national network of more than 2,000 nursing and midwifery ambassadors who are actively working together to transform the perception of nursing and midwifery to encourage more young people to enter the profession.

Earlier this year, she wrote a blog outlining why she chose to become a nurse and why she’s never looked back.

Zara said: “Nursing is such a fantastic career. Whether you want to become a general practice nurse, community nurse, a nurse who wants to work in a hospital setting or become a director of nursing, the opportunities are endless.

“In Doncaster, we know there are many challenges facing nursing and midwifery and we are actively working hard to address these. As a nursing ambassador I am working with organisations, nurses and midwives across Doncaster to ensure that our fantastic professions are recognised as leaders in the provision of health care and that we collectively showcase nursing and midwifery as fundamentally important in helping the people of Doncaster to effectively manage their own health and wellbeing.

“Now is a brilliant time to enter such a rewarding career in the NHS and like me, you will already know or soon learn that nursing and midwifery will always remain at the centre of your heart. Whether you continue to provide front line care or move into a more senior position, being a nurse or midwife will be always stay with you and like me, reaffirm your commitment to improving people’s lives.”

Nurses and midwives in Doncaster areencouraged to sign up to become a nursing or midwifery ambassador and champion their profession – with colleagues, peers, family and friends.A series of 30 day challenges were launched back in May this year to help nurses and midwives get behind the campaign and transform the perceptions of their beloved professions.

Zara adds: “The 30 day challenges provide a fantastic opportunity for nurses and midwives of all levels to get behind the campaign. No matter how much time you have to support the campaign, your input and contributions are invaluable and will really help transform perceptions of nursing in Doncaster.”

In Doncaster, we have worked hard to create a primary care workforce strategy that has a strong focus on addressing workforce challenges linked to general practice nursing. Insight which fed into the creation of the workforce strategy confirms that Doncaster follows the national trend where many general practice nurses are nearing retirement age.

Over the next twelve months, Doncaster CCG will continue to implement the General Practice Forward View which aligns with the General Practice Nursing ten point action plan. And from a nursing perspective, we will work towards expanding and developing opportunities in Doncaster to strengthen the role of general practice nursing.

We will continue to support the GPN Ready Scheme which enables practices to consider the appointment of a newly registered nurse or a return-to-practice nurse. This scheme supports the education and training of their new general practice nurse over their first two years of employment.

In addition, we will continue to support the training and education of Doncaster’s GPN workforce, working closely with Primary Care Doncaster, our GP Federation who provide and facilitate this education.

We will also support and promote all pathways into care, such as the Health Care Assistant apprenticeships and the relatively new role of Nursing Associate.

The Nursing Associate role is a new support role that will sit alongside existing healthcare support workers and fully qualified nurses to deliver hands-on care for patients.

Nurse apprentice schemes are also an innovative way to enter nursing and as a CCG, we will support them as they are developed. In Doncaster, we have a number highly qualified nurse mentors that focus on teaching, inspiring and empowering the next generation of nurses.

Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England said: “I am delighted to see nurses and midwives supporting the campaign in Doncaster to transform both the perceptions of nursing and midwifery and demonstrate their contributions to the health and care system.

“It is particularly pleasing to see how general practice nurses are being supported through a number of initiatives linked to the General Practice Nursing Ten Point Action Plan to improve both recruitment and retention.”