Healthcare’s Fight Against Plastic Waste
It was reported in April that the NHS had used more than half a billion disposable cups over the past five years. The figures, obtained by the Press Association, showed that NHS trusts in England purchased around 600 million disposable cups since 2013, equating to more than 300,000 per day with cups used for hot and cold drinks, as well as for dispensing medicine. The news emerged following a pledge by the UK government to take action against disposable cups as part of an ongoing fight against plastic waste. April also saw the government’s chief medical advisor Dame Sally Davies release her annual report which stated the NHS creates 590,000 tonnes of waste a year, more than the entire municipal waste from Cyprus and Luxembourg. As the world’s fifth largest employer, Davies stated the importance of the NHS cutting its pollutant footprint: “Everybody has a role to play in cutting pollution but the NHS has more than a million staff, accounts for one in 20 vehicles on the road and is a big user of single-use disposable plastics.” Any healthcare professional will tell you the importance of single-use plastic to provide a sanitary and hygienic option for patients, making eliminating them unlikely until there’s a suitable replacement. However, there is often more to be done when it comes to the disposal of these products. For example, oil-based plastics, commonly used for drinks cups, are recyclable and would simply require sorting and disposing of in the right place. Many organisations are taking the step of completely banning the use of single-use plastic cups in favour of china. The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust revealed that their patients have access to china cups and glassware in a bid to reduce plastic waste volumes. Additionally, York Hospital uses crockery for drinks in its wards, claiming it also improves the patient experience. Media reports, such as that detailing the NHS’ plastic cup use, coupled with the government’s commitment to reduce our dependence on single-use plastics, are working as a catalyst for change within the NHS and provide even more environmentally-friendly alternatives and an increase in recycling and collection schemes nationwide. For the latest news and insights relating to environmental issues impacting the NHS and wider healthcare sector, stay tuned to the MCM Medical blog and social media channels.
NHS Staff Shortages: A Snapshot
Earlier this month, the Conservative Party Conference took place in Birmingham, with Secretary of State Matt Hancock taking to the stage to discuss the NHS at 70 and his plans to secure its future. Grabbing the headlines was the £240m he pledged for social care in England so that the NHS can better cope with winter pressures. Hancock stated the money would help more people “who don’t need to be in the hospital but do need care”. The health secretary also added that he was in the process of writing a long-term plan for the NHS to “guarantee its future”. Notably absent from the speech was staff shortages. Acting RCN Chief Executive Dame Donna Kinnair responded: “If this speech was intended to show the Government’s plan for the NHS, it has scarce little to say about the scores of unfilled jobs in every healthcare profession. The right number of staff with the right skills are the key to effective patient care, and without enough nurses, so much of what was promised in the speech looks simply undeliverable.” Hancock claimed that there are “12,000 more nurses on our wards” and “14,000 more doctors”, while figures from the Royal College of Nursing revealed there are 40,000+ registered nurse vacancies with more nurses leaving the profession than joining. And, while Hancock discussed the benefits of new technology at the conference, something for which almost half a billion pounds has been pledged, it’s unlikely to provide an immediate solution for staffing shortages. On this, Dame Donna Kinnair commented: “Technology may help increase efficiency, but it in no way compensates for having enough nurses on shift to keep patients safe. And preventative services, vital to keep people healthy for longer, require nurses with the right skills to make them work. Yet we see patients turned away from understaffed sexual health clinics as STI rates soar.” NHS staff shortages overview (reported at the end of June)* Health service = 107,743 unfilled posts. Up 9,268 on the previous three months. Nurses = 41,722 vacant posts, 11.8% of the entire nursing workforce. 17% increase on the previous three months. Doctors = 11,576 unfilled posts across all types of NHS services, 9.3% vacant posts across England. Record increase on the 9,982 vacant posts three months before. [*Figures from NHS Improvement] “The answer to these problems is a comprehensive workforce plan focused on recruitment and retention, that links population need to staff numbers,” stated Dame Donna Kinnair. “This must be underpinned by legislation that holds decision-makers to account for safe staffing levels. Nursing can offer great career pathways, but it needs investment to make it attractive.” For insights and commentary related to the NHS and staff shortages, stay tuned to the MCM Medical blog and our social channels.
CV Tips for Nurses
Nursing is one of the most fulfilling jobs you can do, but putting patient needs first and working long hours means there isn’t always time to keep your CV up-to-date, let alone ensure it stands out from the competition to secure your next exciting role. Whether you’re a newly qualified nurse, or a senior nurse requiring a refresher on creating a winning nursing CV, the MCM Medical team has pulled together some of our top tips to help you. Personal statement You should use your personal statement to describe what you’ve done in your nursing career so far. You should aim to keep this short - no more than three short paragraphs to summarise what you’ve done so far, focusing on your most recent achievements. If you have particular expertise or have specialised training in a specific field, this is the area to talk about it. Work experience This section should include all relevant employment and work experience history, starting with your most recent position. For each role or work experience placement, you should include your job title, the name of the employer, length of time you worked there, and a summary of your main duties. Use bullet points to list key achievements or primary responsibilities for each role, allowing an employer to get an idea of your skills at a glance. Education Here, you should detail where and when you got your nursing qualifications, as well as any on-the-job training or courses you’ve undertaken. Include any continuing professional development and qualifications relevant to healthcare in chronological order, starting with the most recent and working backwards. Additional relevant skills Add anything that’s relevant to your application, whether that’s experience of patient admission and discharges, onboarding new staff or leading projects. Do include anything that showcases your nursing skills here, and if you’re applying for something more senior ensure you describe your leadership skills and give examples. References Clinical CVs should always include two references. One should be your current employer, and the other one should be a recent employer or tutor/lecturer/placement leader if this is your first application. If you’re looking for your next exciting role in nursing, search our latest opportunities or contact the MCM Medical team today who are on-hand to help.
Let’s Talk About...Pre-shift Anxiety for Newly Qualified Nurses
Becoming a registered nurse is an exciting milestone, but there’s a notable shift in pressure with nurses finding themselves out on their own for the first time. While training to be a nurse involves gaining hands-on experience, the emphasis shifts from studying and exams to being responsible for real patients in your care. And it’s this transition that can sometimes result in anxiety. While pre-shift anxiety is extremely common, there are some tried and tested techniques to help you stay relaxed and prevent negative feelings from impacting on your overall mental health and the care you provide for patients. Look out for the signs To recognise that you might be struggling with anxiety, you need to be honest with yourself. Are you having difficulty sleeping? Do you find yourself trembling or short of breath when you’re at work? Once you identify feelings of anxiety, you’ll be well-placed to start putting a routine in place before work that will help to calm your nerves and equip you with the emotional tools to tackle the day. Address your lifestyle Small alterations to your lifestyle can go a long way in helping you to reduce your anxiety on shift. Whether that’s introducing a regular exercise routine, going to bed an hour earlier each night, or practising yoga and meditation techniques - all of which have been found to help ease work-related anxiety. Cut out the stimulants Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and sugar can work to fuel anxiety levels. While it’s easier said than done to cut out the coffee, especially if you’re working night shifts, it’s worth seeking alternatives to see whether it makes a difference to your mood. Healthy smoothies or herbal teas contain calming and anti-inflammatory properties that won’t spike your adrenal levels. Breathing exercises Slowing down your breathing can help to restore a calm state of mind. This, in turn, reduces your heart rate, helping to prepare, handle and recover from stressful experiences far more effectively. Plan your break Make the most of your breaks, whether that’s reading a book, listening to a podcast or getting some fresh air by taking a short walk outside. You may find that taking your mind off work can give you a renewed focus when you return to your shift. If it’s possible, you could benefit from walking to and from work or at least part of the way to clear your head. Communicate Don’t suffer in silence. The chances are that most of your colleagues, especially senior nurses, will have experienced anxiety at some point and may be able to offer tips and advice. Just having someone to talk can help you gain perspective and prevent any problems from escalating. Post-shift care After a long shift, your adrenaline might be pumping, emotions flying and stress levels higher than average. While detaching yourself from the day through exercise or deep breathing can help to clear your mind, it’s important not to try and forget about it entirely as this can sometimes increase your anxiety before your next shift. Instead, try talking through your day with a colleague or friend who can offer an objective outlook. Also, the internet is a great place to share your thoughts and seek advice, with forums on the Royal College of Nursing website providing the opportunity to discuss your experiences with your peers. If you’re looking for your next exciting role in nursing, search our latest opportunities or contact the MCM Medical team today who are on-hand to help.
Free Tickets for 500 Mendip Trainee Nurses to Glastonbury 2019
Creator of the Glastonbury Festival Michael Eavis CBE has pledged to give away 500 free tickets to the world-famous festival for trainee nurses after stating that “there are no more nurses in Somerset”. The Glastonbury places are available to students in the Mendip-area who enrolled on this year's nursing course as a gesture of support to the NHS, now entering its 70th year, and to encourage more people to take up nursing as a profession in the UK. Eavis made the decision after speaking to a local NHS trust chair who explained there was a distinct lack of new trainees in the area, with a need for further incentives. So severe is the shortage in the region that inpatient wards at Chard, Dene Barton and Shepton Mallet community hospital temporarily closed in October 2017, with beds moved to other sites to provide extra capacity during the winter. The issue of nurse shortages is not unique to Somerset. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) revealed that in January 2018 only one in seven nursing positions in England were filled. The RCN also stated the need for a campaign to increase the numbers, as well as incentives offered for graduates to retrain as a nurse through new apprenticeship routes. RCN chief executive Janet Davies said: “The staffing crisis must be stopped from spiralling further. Extra university places are only worthwhile if they are filled and the NHS gets a newly trained nurse. When it is haemorrhaging so many experienced people, this has never been more important. The Government knows that when there aren’t enough nurses, patients can pay the highest price.” In July, the NHS launched the biggest recruitment campaign in its 70-year history. The £8 million campaign aims to highlight the wide range of opportunities available in the NHS for potential recruits, shining the spotlight on nursing in critical areas of mental health, learning disability and community. With over 34,000 nursing vacancies reported in England between April to September 2017, the NHS hopes the campaign will increase the number of nursing applications into the NHS by 22,000, as well as double the number of nurses returning to practice and improve retention of staff in all sectors. Our previous blog looked at the importance of recruiting overseas nurses to help with staff shortages, and how the Government has relaxed visa rules for doctors and nurses from outside of the EU looking to work in the UK. View the latest nursing opportunities in the NHS and private healthcare organisations on the MCM Medical job search, or register your details today and a member of our team will be in touch.
The Mutual Benefits of Overseas Nurses in the NHS
When UK news outlets report on the NHS, it’s often in the same sentence as the words ‘crisis, ‘shortages’ and ‘funding’. Celebrating its 70th birthday this year, our national health service continues to be used as a political pawn with ongoing debates about whether it can be sustained into the future. Despite such negativity, the NHS remains world-renowned for the benefits it offers international nurses. Providing high-quality care that can be accessed by anyone for free, the NHS is considered to be one of the world’s leading healthcare providers that offers excellent rates of pay and additional benefits for overseas nurses. What a career as an NHS nurse offers Nurses coming to the UK to work in the NHS receive an initial three-year contract, providing the long-term financial security they need to move to and build a future here. Also, these contracts are often renewed with international nurses working within the same NHS trust for much longer. Here are more key benefits of working as an NHS nurse: Band 5 Staff Nurse salary. Offering a salary in the range of £22,128 to £28,746 — dependent upon where you live and work in the UK 37.5 hours working week with the opportunity for overtime at an increased rate and increased rates for bank holidays and Sundays 27 paid days every year and eight paid bank holiday days each year Help with finding accommodation Comprehensive pension scheme in which you will be automatically enrolled from day one Refunded visa and IELTS/OET costs. Benefits for the NHS As part of its NHS at 70 series, inews reported how employing overseas nurses has benefited Yeovil District Hospital. In June, the hospital, run by the Yeovil District NHS Foundation Trust in Somerset, didn’t have a single nursing vacancy across any of its wards. As well as hiring domestically, a recruitment drive to hire nurses from overseas has been a major contributing factor to Yeovil’s record, with the trust hiring 174 nurses last year. It’s due to this success that Yeovil is now recruiting on behalf of several other trusts across the country. With NHS foundations greatly benefiting from overseas talent to solve staffing shortages, recent news that the Government would be relaxing visa rules for skilled workers from non-EU countries couldn’t have come at a better time. Now, doctors and nurses are to be excluded from the cap on “Tier 2” visas, which was imposed by Theresa May when she was home secretary. Previously, the visa limit had been set at 20,700 a year since 2011, with around 40% of places accounted for by the NHS. Read about how to become registered with the Nurses and Midwifery Council, and contact the MCM Medical team to find out more about the latest nursing opportunities in the NHS and private healthcare organisations today.