The charity Sue Ryder has launched a campaign to recruit more palliative care nurses, after it announced it is facing ‘the worst recruitment challenge in its 65-year history.’
This challenge is ‘symptomatic of the wider nursing crisis, with one in 10 nurse posts in England currently unfilled across the entire profession,’ the palliative, neurological and bereavement support charity said.
It is calling on registered nurses, student nurses, nursing assistants, care home assistants, domiciliary care assistants, paramedics and personal care assistants to find out more about what a career in palliative care is really like.
As well as working in hospices, palliative care nurses work in the community, visiting people in their homes as part of a planned, rapid response or other service.
The We are Sue Ryder campaign, launched on 6 July, aims to ‘raise awareness of the critical recruitment need for palliative care nurses across the UK,’ the charity said. It also ‘highlights the rewarding and heart-warming moments a career in palliative care can offer, and celebrates the lasting impact palliative care nurses can have on patients and their loved ones at the end of life,’ Sue Ryder explained.
New research published by Sue Ryder shows that 59% of Brits surveyed do not think they could work in the profession, despite an estimated 30.8 million people in the UK having known someone who has needed palliative care.
Half of the 59% said they did not want to be around death the whole time (52%), with a quarter of the opinion it is a ‘depressing’ profession (25%). Only 16% felt working in palliative care could be ‘uplifting’.
‘These are common misconceptions,’ Sue Ryder said, ‘but whilst it is inevitable that palliative care nurses will be around death, they also help people live as well as they can for as long as they can.
‘Patients and family members are often surprised at what a positive, uplifting and happy places hospices are, as they support and care for people to fill their last days with love.’
Respondents to a Sue Ryder survey said the top five qualities of a palliative care nurse are supportive (52%), empathetic (52%), a good listener (40%), kind (40%) and a person who takes into account loved ones’ wishes (30%).
The charity said: ‘Sue Ryder nurses embody each of these qualities in order to provide expert and compassionate care. ‘We are urging any medical professional who recognises these qualities in themselves to reach out to Sue Ryder and consider a career in palliative nursing.
‘Make a life-changing career change and be part of our expert team, providing compassionate care at the end of people’s lives and filling their last days with love.’
Football legend Sir Geoff Hurst MBE, former rugby league player Jamie Peacock MBE and motivational speaker Malin Andersson, who appeared on ITV’s Love Island in 2016, are backing Sue Ryder’s campaign, ‘after experiencing first-hand the expert and compassionate end-of-life care provided by Sue Ryder,’ the charity said.
Heidi Travis, chief executive of Sue Ryder, said: ‘We know that palliative care might not be the first choice for those considering a career in nursing, but we want to better inform people of the many benefits and joy that can come when filling someone’s last days with love.
‘Our Sue Ryder nurses tell us that what they most enjoy about their roles is that – often for the first time in their careers – they are given time to care. They can really get to know their patients and their families and they feel proud of the difference they are making to that family.’