The RCN Foundation has awarded funding to the Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) for a three-year project to support the National Care Home Nurses’ Network (NCHNN) (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Through the network, the QNI aims to improve and enhance the nursing of care home residents by supporting registered nurses working in these areas to learn, share and develop best practice. The network facilitates regular communication with its members, and reports on practice developments along with the latest research and policy relating to care home nursing practice.
There are currently 735 nurses registered with the network, with around 10 additional registrations each week. The network holds quarterly online events which last for two hours and update nurses on key policy, practice, and research issues. It also provides a forum for the nurses to network, share best practice and learn from each other. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a need to move to these events online - but this has enabled even higher levels of engagement.
As part of the project, the QNI have developed an online repository of resources which has been positively received by the members of the network.
The voice for care home nurses
An unexpected part of the network to emerge from COVID-19 was the successful closed Facebook network group, which was set up as an easily accessible forum for nurses during this challenging time. The QNI moderate this to ensure that it remains a safe place for nurses to discuss any issues and it provides a support network and rich source of learning and information sharing. The discussions and debates have highlighted the ‘voice of care home nurses’ and the intelligence gained has assisted in the QNI being able to influence and contribute to decision making at a national level.
Care Home Nurse Survey Report
One of the most significant outputs from a policy perspective, has been the Covid-19 Care Home Nurse Survey Report June 2020.The report put into focus the challenges nurses within this sector were facing during the start of the pandemic. These included the stress these nurses were under, but also highlighted the skill, dedication, professionalism, and teamwork of these nurses. The report highlighted the need to plan better for a second wave of the pandemic.
Feedback from participants
"This network opens up valuable opportunities for on-going professional development, networking and peer support between care home staff outside of their own organisation which is invaluable, now more than ever. Care home nurses deserve to be recognised and supported at both local and national level. Their commitment and ability to deliver holistic, individualised care to residents living with a multitude of conditions (long-term) and the meaningful relationships they develop with their family/friends cannot and should not be underestimated. I am in the privileged position of working in an NHS team who support care home staff with training and education and actively promote this network as a valuable resource with them." Sarah - Team Lead, North Devon Care Homes Team
"As a nurse in a nursing home, it can be lonely and isolating. It’s really good to talk to other nurses in similar situations, especially while face to face or group training has been suspended for many of us" Gillian Vernon - Care Home Nurse East Midlands
"Amazing resource and help always at hand. This group helped me make a stress-free transition from acute NHS nursing to nursing home nursing, so thank you so much" Becky Wharmby – Care Home Nurse Stockport
“I would like to pass on my comments as to how useful and supportive the Care Home Nurse Network (CHNN) has become to me over the past 12 months. I have worked as an RN in a care home setting since 1996, in a variety of roles. The CHNN has, for the first time, allowed me to voice my experience, knowledge, and skills on a national platform. In return, I have been able to access support from colleagues who have always understood the isolated position care home nurses often find themselves working in. Over the past 12 months, this support, within a safe space has been immeasurable. That the CHNN continues to champion the skills of care home nurses means that increased professional recognition will be more forthcoming. The Essential Skills of Education and Practice will enable us to evidence our practice and provide a benchmark for all those who choose to join us working in a dynamic, challenging but hugely rewarding area of specialist practice.” Louise Atherton – Clinical Governance and Training Manager – Berkley Care Group
'QNI Care Home Nurse Network provides care homes nurses opportunity to hear about initiatives and the different projects around care within the care home setting. It means that they also contribute to discussions around what good looks like, reflect and be more inspired to own quality initiatives to drive improvements that I can support the home to implement. This is invaluable. In my role, I aim to take a 'do with' rather than a 'do to' approach, which is essential, for engagement and sustainability' Tina Jegede – Nurse Lead for Clinical Standards, Quality & Assurance Care Homes Care Homes London