Rising to the Challenges of an Ageing Society by Providing Quality Nursing Care
The UK care sector, tasked with devoting its energy to the increasingly complex needs of an ageing population, is one of the most challenging and invigorating contemporary work environments.
Care providers need to rise to these challenges by demonstrating a stringent focus on assuring quality nursing care for older people. One method of doing this is by ensuring that nursing staff receive comprehensive training at all stages of their career, so that they feel optimally supported both in the day-to-day practice of nursing care and in their professional development.
Sunrise Senior Living has been spearheading a comprehensive programme of support for its nursing staff, which recently received recognition when Sunrise’s industry-leading Clinical Development and Leadership training programme was awarded accreditation by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). This programme began in 2014 and has been refined over the past 18 months to deliver the highest standards of excellence in care. It has been designed to help ensure that team members responsible for leadership of care and nursing in the organisation’s homes have the knowledge and skills to implement and champion clinical governance across the care environment.
But this particular programme represents only one strand of Sunrise’s overarching development offering for nursing staff.
Sunrise this year also introduced a new 12-week induction programme for all new nursing staff, which supports nurses in their induction into the role and ensures that they know everything that is required of them before the end of their probationary period.
Sunrise’s Senior Director of Care and Quality, Joanne Balmer, says that the induction programme has been received “incredibly well”, with positive feedback coming from many of Sunrise Senior Living’s 27 communities and Gracewell Healthcare’s 15 homes across the UK.
Recognising the importance of providing sustained support for nursing staff at all stages of their career, Sunrise also offers specific revalidation workshops to help staff meet their Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revalidation requirements.
Joanne Balmer said: “With all the changes society is currently undergoing, many residents join us later on in their journey in life, coming to us with complex needs which we can then tailor our care to and individually address. As a consequence, having quality nursing staff is key – but with the current national shortage, recruitment is very competitive.
“By providing first-class nursing staff development programmes, including an RCN-accredited Clinical Development programme, we make sure to attract the best talent from all over the UK. This means we can deliver top-quality care to residents and rewarding careers to staff.”
Fiona White, Deputy and Registered Manager at Sunrise of Eastbourne, has enjoyed extensive experience of the Clinical Development programme.
As a result of undertaking the Development course herself last year, Fiona developed her own mini-training module for staff, and has since consistently achieved 100% compliance on regular staff supervisions.
Fiona said: “The Development programme helped me establish a way of working smarter not harder, and supervision is now seen very much as a positive intervention for all concerned – directly improving our standards and enhancing the lives of residents at Sunrise.”
Fiona, who is also currently undertaking an MSc in Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester, added: “Like my nursing team, I too have been fully supported with a comprehensive training and development programme, and I look forward to progressing further as opportunities arise.
“Having been in the healthcare industry for nearly 18 years, Sunrise is the fourth care home provider I have worked for after the NHS, and to me is without question the finest, because they actively encourage and nurture team members to develop their entire skillset.”
Another team member at Sunrise of Eastbourne, Romanita Nita, having moved to the UK from Romania six years ago, joined Sunrise as a Bank Nurse four years ago and is now the community’s Assisted Living Co-ordinator. Romanita attended the third Clinical Development course and feels that it gave her the courage to apply for her new role, which involves managing a team of staff and 54 residents in Assisted Living.
She said: “Working at Sunrise has given me the confidence to develop as a nurse and has provided me with opportunities to progress. As a nurse I work as part of a team but I am also given the skills and autonomy to improve my practice through the comprehensive training and clinical develop that Sunrise offers.
“The Clinical Development course gave me the foundation to build on my new role as Assisted Living Co-ordinator. I learnt how to improve the collation of our Quality Indicators and understand the importance of accurate data, and it certainly gave me the confidence to do my job and deliver the high-quality care residents deserve.”