Following recent discussion of The Courage of Compassion report, Kate Woodhead further considers the importance of ensuring ‘autonomy, belonging and contribution’ in order to retain & safeguard the wellbeing of those working in health and social care
An article published in the last edition of The Clinical Services Journal told half the story1 of The courage of compassion – a report which commissioned the King’s Fund to examine the necessary improvements in the workplace to enable nurses and midwives to flourish and thrive at work. The article reviewed the conditions under which many nurses and midwives work in the NHS in primary, secondary and social care and made recommendations on how this could be made better to address the very real and imminent threat of healthcare workers leaving the professions in droves.
The story is one of being undervalued, unempowered and underpaid. The local conditions under which they work often include being unsupported, they may even be bullied and harassed, as well as trying to maintain the service under COVID-19 stress. So, while the public were clapping key workers, which signalled their support, the employers were, in many instances, unable to provide suitable environments in which to work. The care givers, as many readers are, will frequently put their patients first at the expense of their own wellbeing and, only when there is time to raise one’s head to look around, will the damage be apparent.
This article reviews the other aspects of the report and explores the three core needs identified which nurses and midwives require, to have a worthwhile and satisfying career in which they are enabled to deliver high quality care. Examples of good practice pepper the text, allowing other Trusts to review means of change. The three core elements are ‘Autonomy, Belonging and Contribution’.
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