Andrea Sutcliffe visited Guernsey for the first time for a series of meetings, presentations and lectures with local nurses and midwives.
As part of the NMC’s five-year strategy to promote high standards of nursing and midwifery via regulation of advanced practice, Ms Sutcliffe said that Guernsey was important due to its health service being consultant-led, with staff working at a high level.
She was impressed by the level of staff training and development she had seen.
‘As a regulator, the NMC wants to be flexible, but also promote high standards. We want to ensure that there is sufficient training in a range of different specialities, and encourage working across a number of disciplines, especially following the Covid pandemic.’
She acknowledged the challenges the pandemic had presented to nurses and midwives, but commended the way in which they had responded to the challenge.
‘How everyone collaborated and worked together was fantastic, and it strengthened professional relationships. It would be great if we were able to build on that.’
She emphasised the importance of creating a positive working environment for staff following the pandemic, and said that the NMC hoped to gain a deeper understanding of what nurses and midwives required through the introduction of a leavers’ survey.
‘The main reason staff leave is retirement, but we are more interested in the reasons those who leave earlier than expected have for doing so.’
Some of the reasons staff left the profession, Ms Sutcliffe said, included burnout and exhaustion, a lack of support, and concerns over the quality of care being delivered to patients.
‘I must emphasise that these are global problems, and are not specific to Guernsey. We think it is important to concentrate on retention as well as how we attract new staff.’
Offering continuous professional development to student and newly-qualified nurses was one of the ways in which the NMC hoped to retain younger staff, and diversify the age range of an increasingly older register of nurses and midwives, Ms Sutcliffe said.
She was also optimistic that increased efficiency of technology systems and a reduced case load would ease some of the pressure that had been particularly prevalent during the pandemic.
She added that she had been briefly told about the redevelopment work being carried out at the PEH, and welcomed any modernisation measures that would make staff’s jobs easier.