International Nurses Day

International Nurses Day is an opportunity to recognise and give thanks for the valuable work undertaken by nurses across the world, past and present. The annual celebration held on May 12th is Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the World War one pioneer who is widely regarded as the founder of modern nursing.

Karen Matthews-Shard, Global Clinical Director of Acacium Group and a qualified nurse with over 40 years of experience, shares some insights from her career, how these lessons have shaped the Group’s commitment to clinical excellence, and her perspectives on the future of nursing.

Nursing as a diverse and rewarding career

While many people may have a preconceived notion of what a nursing career entails, the reality is that the range of opportunities is vast and varied. My career is certainly a testament to that; I’ve spent many years working in the NHS, in the armed forces, in the private sector and as a Commissioner. I’ve gained a real breadth of knowledge across the healthcare sector and 40 years later, I’m able to apply that knowledge to ensure patient comfort and safety is at the heart of everything we do.

The future of nursing

Given the significant and disproportionate impact of recent social, economic, and political events on the nursing profession, it is challenging to envisage what the future may look like. COVID-19 has undoubtedly had an impact. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a considerable toll, with many nurses experiencing burnout and exhaustion due to inadequate resources and training. An aging workforce and fewer people entering the profession compound the challenges and threaten to overburden the existing workforce, which is unsustainable.

As an independent provider of nurses, Acacium Group offers nursing professionals greater flexibility, which can be transformative in terms of achieving work-life balance. Recognising that many nurses have caring responsibilities outside of work, agency nursing can provide a solution that offers greater choice and flexibility at different stages of their lives.

Ultimately, time will tell. We’re already seeing the healthcare landscape increasingly move out of hospitals into the community. This is a positive development as recovery rates for patients at home are generally higher than in hospitals. Hospital avoidance programs, virtual wards, and outpatient services can free up critical and acute care for patients who require it. The shift towards digital healthcare services was already happening, but the pandemic has accelerated and enhanced it.

The significance of clinical governance in ensuring safety and accountability

Clinical governance is the framework that provides the evidence for accountability and safety in healthcare. It safeguards patients, demonstrates a commitment to healthcare provision, and protects the workforce. This is why it’s so key for me that we have experienced nursing practitioners leading our clinical governance.

The fact that we have this onus on clinical expertise is something very unique to Acacium Group in my experience. We have 160 clinicians supporting our wider team roll out essential services in partnership with hospitals, clinics and local authorities to secure better outcomes for patients and service users across the world. Importantly, our team have had first-hand experience of the challenges faced by our workforce. They know the issues and pain points all too well which makes them the best advocates for our workers on the front line.

We’re a people organisation. That means we must look after our workforce to enable them to look after others. If you haven’t got that people piece correct, then how can we expect our team to give their best to look after patients?

Ensuring our candidates, patients and service users are supported through comprehensive risk assessments helps the people in our care live the life they want to live in spite of their health challenges, which is both inspiring and humbling. It enables candidates to undertake critical care, such as ventilating a patient on a skiing holiday or accompanying someone on life support to a concert. They’re making a difference to improve people’s lives every day – and I’m hugely proud that my team have a hand in making it possible.

Our team specialises in delivering permanent and temporary recruitment solutions in both acute and community settings. Our approach provides a broader, more flexible workforce that can adapt to your changing needs. We develop innovative new care models that increase capacity and capability by combining technology with data-led insights, clinical governance, and our expert workforce.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can support your healthcare organisation.