Shine a light on social care nursing

“There are over 1.6million people who work in social care. Thank you to Florence Nightingale Foundation for providing this opportunity to get our voices across. We are here today to celebrate what you have all achieved as social care nurses and to highlight the importance of social care nursing and those you serve.”

Those were the inspiring words from Deborah Sturdy, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care in England, at the start of the graduation day of FNF’s inaugural programmes for social care nurses.

The programme for social care nurses from ethnic minority backgrounds, and for the 42 Chairs of the newly formed Social Care Nursing Advisory Council (SCNACs), established to help provide a better understanding of nursing in adult social care to Directors of Nursing in ICBs. 

Both programmes are working to provide nurses with the skills, confidence and connections, to improve career progression and amplify the voice of social care within the health and care sector. Both programmes are supported by the Department of Health and Social Care.

We also heard from Helen Whately, Minister for Social Care, during the graduation day. ‘You know how good you are and I want the rest of the world to know it. May 2023 be the best year yet to be a social care nurse”.

During the day, we had the opportunity to hear from the programmes’ alumni, as they shared the impact so far, and what they planned to do next. From focusing on care for people living with diabetes, to improving the quality of personal care for people living in care homes, to strengthening education and career pathways for social care nursing, there was much they hoped to achieve. Hear more from two of them, Walter and Christabel, below:

Walter Chikanya is Head of Care Quality at the Royal Star & Garter charity. He has been a nurse for over 20 years and is now one of the 42 Chairs of the newly formed Social Care Nursing Advisory Councils (SCNACs).

“When I set out on this journey, my goal was clear: to make a real impact and give a voice to social care. But I’ll admit, I didn’t know much about the Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) initially. Little did I know this would be the starting point of an incredible adventure – the FNF leadership programme. This was nothing short of transformative. It equipped me with the knowledge and tools I needed to make sense of the intricate world of ICBs. I’ve worked in social care for about ten years now. By incentivising and offering promising career opportunities, we can attract school leavers and the younger generation to join our cause. This monumental task requires collective efforts and together, we can bring about the change we want.”

Read more in Walter’s Star Alumni blog here.

Christabel Chinonso U is a nurse working in social care.

I used to think I was confident and had communication skills but coming to the UK all that changed. I wasn’t getting the job satisfaction and I was going downhill, so I started searching for training to boost myself, to help me be effective at my work and get back my job satisfaction. I screamed when I heard I was accepted on the social care leadership programme. I was anticipating so much and I wasn’t wrong, the whole thing was mind-blowing. I wish I’d done this earlier in my social care career. It changed me. Hearing Deborah Sturdy talk to us about her dreams and her passions for social care was amazing, she is literally living this out.”

Read more in Christabel’s Star Alumni blog here.

Lucy Brown, Director of Nursing and Midwifery Leadership at FNF, spoke about why we, as an organisation, are so passionate about supporting and developing social care nurses.

“It’s been an absolute privilege to lead and facilitate the sessions for these two programmes [and] to see the voice of social care elevated and individuals recognised for their unique leadership attributes and skills. Social care nurses are phenomenally resourceful, innovative, agile and autonomous practitioners who work in pressured and unique environments.

To watch the transformation of these nurses has been humbling. The confidence, self-belief and empowerment they have achieved in such a short space of time is amazing. I cannot wait to see what comes next for these nurses. The fuse has been lit, so watch this space! Social care is essential to truly integrated care and support across our country. As we move to more sustainable practices, we need to look to the resourcefulness of this sector. It is the future of our healthcare system to look after our populations closer to home and at home.”

Social care nursing is a complex specialism. With its person-centered approach it offers a rewarding career and FNF will continue to support the nurses who want to work in this sector.

“I can feel the determination in the room. We come to work to make a difference. What you have achieved so far is staggering. It feels like the future of social care nursing is bright. Together, we can continue to transform lives for the better.” Deborah Sturdy