The courage of compassion

The mental health and wellbeing of the nursing and midwifery professions has been a key and ongoing priority for the RCN Foundation over the past three years. Earlier this year, we commissioned The King’s Fund to undertake research into the causes and consequences of poor mental health and wellbeing among nurses and midwives.

When we commissioned the report, we were conscious of two things. First, that there had already been a number of studies on this issue; and secondly, that COVID-19 was having a profound impact, exacerbating the issue of a workforce already experiencing stress, burn out and mental ill health. We therefore wanted to see a report that not only raised the issues, but also sought to identify solutions and provide examples of good practice. The scope of the review covered all nursing and midwifery staff and students, including health care assistants and nursing associates, across the UK.

The report makes for compelling reading and makes some important recommendations about the urgent transformational change that is needed to enable nurses and midwives to thrive in their workplaces. These recommendations cover a range of themes including working conditions, culture and leadership, workload, and management and supervision. The full report can be read here.  

Over the next few months, we will be looking at how we can take forward this important work, and how we can work with others to help deliver the change that is needed.

Deepa Korea

Director, RCN Foundation