A ‘first of its kind’ leadership role has been created to help raise the profile of the adult social care nursing and shape teaching, research and clinical practice within this area, it has been announced.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Foundation charity has awarded funding to the University of Salford to develop and appoint an inaugural ‘RCN Foundation chair in adult social care nursing’.
While the new chair role will be based at the University of Salford, the person in post will work across the four countries of the UK to take a ‘strategic lead’ in shaping research and education in adult social care at a local, national and international level.
The charity, which is attached to the RCN, announced its partnership with the university, and a more than £700,000 investment to help support and improve adult social care nursing over the next five years, during its annual lecture in London on Wednesday.
Deepa Korea, director of the RCN Foundation, said: ‘We are very pleased to announce this long-term investment to support and improve adult social care in the UK and are excited to be working alongside the University of Salford and see this project come to fruition.’
The move comes after a recent survey conducted by the charity saw more than 64% of adult social care staff citing staffing and retention as a major challenge in their role. More than half (54%) also highlighted issues around pay, particularly in comparison to the NHS.
Around a third of respondents also said they wanted to see an improved career pathway and professional development for nurses – something social care staff also thought was ‘key’ to encouraging more nurses into the sector.
Following these results, Ms Korea said the new chair position was ‘a significant and timely opportunity to contribute to innovation and longevity in the sector’.
As part of the role, the person in post will help ‘influence and lead national focus on educational preparation for nurses working in social care’, the RCN Foundation said.
In addition, the chair will ‘lead research programmes in all aspects of practice related to adult social care, as well as building capacity and capability within this domain’.
Professor Margaret Rowe, dean of the School of Health and Society at the University of Salford, said the team was ‘delighted’ to have been chosen to host the new position.
‘This role, which is the first of its kind, represents a critical opportunity to raise the profile of social care as well as to take a strategic lead in shaping teaching, research and clinical practice in this area,’ she added.
‘We look forward to working with the RCN Foundation on this important project, and to the benefits it will no doubt bring for our students as we continue to develop and educate the next generation of nurses in adult social care.’
Professor Deborah Sturdy, chief nurse for adult social care in England, said the appointment of an inaugural chair would be ‘a significant moment for social care nursing’.
‘This is a catalyst for change, setting the standard for others to follow and helping to demonstrate the skills, experience, and values of the sector as a whole,’ she added.
Meanwhile, social care minister Helen Whately described the move as ‘a monumental step for social care research’.
‘No one should underestimate what you can achieve in a career in social care – whether at the front line or by pursuing research or education,’ she said.
‘This an achievement for the care workforce as a whole, and it’s another step to make sure care professionals are recognised for their skills and talents.’
Applications for the chair position are now open and close on Friday 12 January 2024.