There were over 11,000 more nurses, midwives and health visitors working in the NHS in England in January 2021 compared to January 2020, and 5,195 more health support workers and assistants. There has been a 34% increase in students wanting to study nursing across England this year with a record-breaking 48,830 applications. Many people who volunteered or worked at Covid-19 vaccination centres have decided to change career path and enter the health workforce.
An unexpected consequence of Covid-19
Covid-19 has demonstrated the challenges and sacrifices that come with working in healthcare. Many healthcare professionals worked long shifts without adequate protection, they witnessed the deaths of hundreds of patients, and many even lost their own lives. So why has there been a surge in applications to work in healthcare? It could be that people have observed the direct positive impact you can have on a person's lives, making healthcare an extremely meaningful career path. For others, they may have had the virus or observed their loved ones suffer from it, and now want to be part of the change. Whatever the reason, ultimately, this is a win for healthcare, as it means there will be more compassionate and empathetic health workers that recognise the reality of healthcare, yet still want to be there.
The impact of nurses in healthcare
Compared to doctors, nurses spend more time with a patient on a day-to-day, ensuring they are comfortable and their needs are met. Doctor's usually juggle a long list of patients so may often can't build a strong relationship with each one. Nurses however, are able to recognise when a patient has deteriorated, because they have seen what the patient has been like all day, and can notice any small changes. Without nurses, it is highly likely that the patient's experience during their admission wouldn't be as pleasant or as comfortable. How important is this? Do you think a patient's comfort during their hospital stay affects their health outcomes?