This is not meant to be an academic piece of work, more a list of suggestions on how I see the current workforce crisis being alleviated. I have frustrating seen all the workforce warnings from people such as Bob Gates over the last few years come to fruition and was disappointed when I could not make the workforce event in Leicester on the 10th May. I have shared my views on workforce via a survey but felt I needed to share my thoughts via this blog on the 5 ways that we could attract more people to this amazing career option.
1. Universities to embed a LD Champions / Ambassadors project so that passionate students and qualified nurses can sell the vision at open days, local colleges, and careers events.
The LD Champions project that was piloted by LD Nurse.com highlighted that by selling the career option to potential candidates who are studying health & social care related subjects you can increase the number of applicants to pre-registration nursing. A big push at nursing career events could also be better utilised as very often they have little LD content. The champions project needs to be co-ordinated by Universities as it can take a lot of hours of planning to get it really flourishing. The University of Wolverhampton will be rolling out this model shortly.
2. Embed Learning Disability Awareness into all Health & Social Care courses offered by FE
Further education institutions offer a wealth of health and social care courses across England, let’s try and get reports such as LeDeR embedded into the curriculum. This will not only increase awareness of the inequalities faced by people with learning disabilities but could also then lead to people considering a career in this area, especially if it is backed up by a LD Champions presentation. FE staff may need support to embed the content into their curriculum by the provision of facilitators packs, lesson plans etc.
3. Sell the vision of a TV programme to production companies that capture aspects of LD Nursing to a wide audience.
We have all seen the impact programmes TV have on recruitment numbers e.g. Holby City, Call the Midwife, Ambulance. Why can we not look at developing something similar for Learning Disability Nursing? People will talk about the risks etc. but if planned out properly it could make a great difference. I feel that a certain ‘Natty’ could be a TV Superstar!!
4. HEE to offer financial incentives to mature students.
The teaching profession is now offering attractive incentives for people to get into teaching so why not the same for LD Nursing? We have historically attracted more mature students than other fields (I put myself into that bracket) yet the new bursary scheme acts as a massive barrier.
5. Flexible entry methods that include Part-Time, Top-Up, Nurse Associates and Higher Apprenticeship.
Linked to the suggestion above in a lot of ways as the lack of bursary means potential candidates need to be offered more flexible entry routes so that they can still afford to live while they learn. I feel that Higher Level Nurse Apprenticeships could work really well in the Independent Sector. A lot of nurses become dual qualified so lets try to attract other fields of nursing to top-up their qualifications so they become a RNLD.
We really do need to start becoming proactive instead of reactive and working across sectors to find the best solutions. We need to form a powerful alliance that challenges the people in power to make the changes that are needed. I would be keen to hear your thoughts.