Research has proven

Safe and effective nurse staffing levels reduce readmissions, healthcare associated infection rates, medication errors, falls and pressure ulcers. Safe and effective nurse staffing levels enable nurses to oversee hydration, mobility and nutrition and deliver expert knowledge, compassionate care and communicate with patients in a safe environment.

Did you know?

Low nurse staffing levels can increase mortality rates by up to 26% compared to better staffed wards.

Section 25B of the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 requires that in adult acute medical and surgical wards the level of “sufficient nursing” must be calculated to take account of factors such as the severity of the patient illness and the skills and experience of the nursing staff. In 2019 the RCN published a report which found the Act had changed NHS culture for the better – and there was extra nursing staff on every hospital ward covered by Section 25B.

ACTION – Extend Section 25B to mental health inpatient wards and to community nursing.

Wales needs nurses

To deliver safe and effective care Wales needs more nurses and more nursing support workers. This means we need to increase the number of people who become nurses. The Welsh Government commissions nursing degree places from universities and the number of places commissioned for adult nursing has increased in recent years. However, the number of places commissioned for mental health, children and learning disability nursing have not. This needs to be addressed to provide a highly skilled workforce for the future.

Full-time student nurses need financial support. The average age of a nursing student is 29. A 2019 RCN survey found that 31% had dependent children, 10% were single parents and 23% were caring for a sick, disabled or elderly relative.

Did you know?

50% of a nursing degree is spent on clinical placement learning practical skills. Every 10% increase in the number of degree educated nurses within a hospital is associated with a 7% decline in patient mortality.

Alongside full-time study there needs to be other ways to gain the nursing degree. NHS Wales currently offers a limited number of nursing apprenticeships to those already employed as healthcare support workers. This should be a national scheme open directly to those who want to earn a nursing degree whilst working and earning a wage.

Action – Increase the number of commissioned nurse student places in all fields of nursing. Ensure financial support for fulltime nursing students and create a national nursing apprenticeship scheme.

Safe and Effective Care Implementing and extending the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016

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