Today, as the NHS launches the biggest recruitment drive in its 70 year history, new research has shown the special place that its staff hold in the nation’s heart.
Nurses and doctors top a public poll as the most trusted and respected professions in the country, according to research carried out for the major new national campaign, ‘We are the NHS’.
Three quarters of those surveyed chose nurses and doctors as professions they trust the most and seven in ten people said they were some of the most important roles in society.
But the majority of the public surveyed did not know the wide range of careers available working as a nurse, only 3% knew that nurses worked in mental health and one third could not name a nursing role outside of hospital like district nurses.
England’s most senior nurse, Professor Jane Cummings said the survey findings showed why young people should feel inspired to choose a career in the NHS but that more needed to be done to highlight the vast range of opportunities available for talented and dedicated people.
The £8 million campaign, funded by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, will highlight the vast range of opportunities available in the NHS for potential new recruits and will initially put the spotlight on the nursing, prioritising key areas including mental health, learning disability and community and general practice nurses and will help deliver the long term plan for the NHS.
The new campaign, which kicks off in the week of the NHS’s 70 birthday on July 5, will feature TV and radio advertising, posters and social media. It will primarily target school children aged 14-18.
Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “The NHS is our country’s most loved institution and that is down to the expert skill, dedication and compassion of its brilliant staff.
“There are over 350 careers available within the NHS giving young people an astonishing range of options. Nursing and midwifery make up the largest part of the workforce and as I know from personal experience, provides a unique opportunity to make a real difference to peoples’ lives in a way that simply cannot be matched.
“Nurses and midwives provide expert skilled care and compassion, and they are highly talented leaders in the NHS. This campaign is all about inspiring young people and others who want a change of career to come and work for the NHS and have a rewarding and fulfilling career that makes a real difference.”
The campaign aims to increase the total number of applications into the NHS by 22,000 as well as double the numbers of nurses returning to practice and improve retention of staff in all sectors. It will recognise the incredible contribution and impact of NHS staff who treat over one million patients every 24 hours across the country in GP surgeries, hospitals and at home, as part of the biggest recruitment drive in NHS history.
There were over 34,000 nursing vacancies reported in England between April to September 2017 with over 6,000 in mental health and 1,500 in community nursing at the end of the year.
Despite having respect from the public, the campaign research found demonstrable differences in parents’ expectations for sons and daughters. Only four in ten parents said they would be proud of their son being a nurse and three in ten were unable to name roles that they can work in other than hospitals.
Further findings suggest they are unaware of the skills and opportunities available in 21stcentury nursing, the vast majority saw nurses first and foremost as ‘caring’ but far fewer saw them as ‘leaders’, ‘innovators’ and ‘academics.’
As well as the national recruitment campaign, NHS England is leading work with over 800 nursing and midwifery ambassadors who are helping to change the perceptions of these professions to help parents, teachers and young people see nursing and midwifery as a career of choice.
In the Autumn the Department of Health and Social Care will run a national adult social care recruitment campaign to raise the profile of the sector and attract people to consider it as a career.
Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said: “Being a nurse or midwife in the NHS is one of the most exciting and fulfilling careers anyone can undertake. I want this campaign to inspire people to take up a career in the NHS and help boost the number of home grown nurses and midwives.”
Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Future nurses who are inspired this summer will help the NHS to reach its first century and beyond. This powerful campaign marks a turning point but the focus on the next generation needs to continue long after the birthday candles have gone out.
“Nursing is a job like no other and the difference you make to people’s lives is very visible and highly rewarding. Patients get the majority of their care from nurses and the next generation will be at the forefront of innovation.”