The mental health & wellbeing of nurses

11 Feb 2020
Tom Sandford

The mental health & wellbeing of nurses

Here at C3 Collaborating for Health, we try to look at issues that impact nursing, but which generally don’t generate enough mainstream commentary, despite being serious concerns for nurses and the health community. We started with obesity in the profession and explored how the environment nurses work in and the pressures they work under, mitigate against them being empowered to maintain good and healthy nutritional diets and hydration in their workplaces. The mental health of the nursing workforce is a similar issue.

From an individual and personal perspective, it raises substantial concerns about the wellbeing of a significant cohort of nurses. It’s not a new observation – a decade ago Steve Boorman completed the NHS workforce health and wellbeing review which flagged the need to address this concerning scenario and which provided a route map for positive intervention. It’s remarkable that so little has been done to reduce the incidence of this distress. From an economic perspective it raises replacement staff cost concerns in a publicly funded health service. From a workforce perspective – and in the national context of an acute shortage of nurse registrants – it represents a tragic waste of nursing time and skills that could be gainfully invested in improving the health and wellbeing of the nation.

At C3 we decided to deliver a webinar about the issue with the ambition of making it the business of everyone in nursing to make a positive difference to something we can take much more control over. Pfizer kindly agreed to fund its production. We involved a group of people in making the webinar who have been key proponents or architects of change in the field.

Steve Boorman – now Director of Employee Health at Empactis, anchors the webinar in the findings of the NHS health and wellbeing review.

Catherine Gamble – RCN mental health adviser, explores the issue in the context of the Colleges important work around parity of esteem.

Jocelyn Cornwell – CEO at the Point of Care Foundation describes the outstanding interventions the Foundation have generated to empower nurses and other health professionals to prepare themselves for the emotional labour of caring.

Yvonne Coghill – RCN deputy president and NHSE/I director sets the work in a wider and critical equalities context.

Michaela Nuttall – C3 associate – places the concern and our response in the context of C3’s wider work on nurses health and wellbeing.

We hope that thinking about our own mental health as a nursing and healthcare community will also impact positively on our sensitivity to our patients’ mental health and wellbeing. We also hope that you will watch the webinar (use the link below).