Nurses say they are striking for ‘future generations’ of nursing
Nurses are striking for ‘future generations’ of the workforce and to ensure nursing is a profession ‘people want to get into’ care times was told of the pickets in Cardiff.
Striking nurses rallied on the grounds of the University Hospital of Wales today amid an ongoing dispute between the Royal College of Nursing and the Government over pay.
This is the second day of nurses’ strikes being staged by the RCN this month, with threats that more will follow if the government doesn’t take action within the next 48 hours.
Nurses in Cardiff described the contrast between today’s “buzz” with staff chanting and supportive car horns as part of their fight for change and everyday anxiety about coming to work, and the “really low” morale of nurses on wards.
When asked about the reasons for their strike, a common theme in the Welsh capital was that nurses, particularly those about to retire, were not striking for themselves but for newly registered nurses (NRNs) and those who were still enter the profession.
Sarah Hill, assistant director of a women’s health unit and nurse for almost 40 years, tells care times that as she neared the end of her career, she “today went on strike for future generations”.
Referring to her own experience, she said there have been instances where NRNs “worked beyond measure” and were “doing things that maybe they shouldn’t be doing”.
“A [NRN]a year after their qualification, shouldn’t be responsible for an entire station and shouldn’t have essential staff with them,” said Ms. Hill, adding that they were working with agency staff instead.
“It’s not good enough. It’s not fair for them and it’s not fair for the patients.”
“I’m striking today for the future of nursing because we need to make nursing a profession that people want to get into”
She added: “I want to be able to attract more people into the nursing profession in the future. For that we need to attract them with a better salary.”
Most NHS nurses in Wales, England and Northern Ireland have received a £1,400 pay rise for 2022-23 – in line with the NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendations, but much lower than the 5% over inflation increase the RCN is campaigning for .
Ms Hill added: “I’m nearing the end of my career so I’m fine financially, but it’s nurses. [NRNs] Will they be able to afford a mortgage starting today?
“Can they afford rent, gas, electricity? No, in the future I don’t think they will be [able to]. So something has to be done about it.”
Similarly, Jacqueline Brandon, a pediatric community nurse, said, “I’m not doing it for me, I’m doing it for our future nurses.”
She added, “I’m not about the money, it’s about the future of care and future generations.”
Ms Brandon tells care times She knew a nursing student who was just finishing college but, based on her experiences, “had no intention of staying in the profession.”
“It’s so sad,” she added.
In addition, Malisa Pierri, a senior clinical nurse at an epilepsy center, said: “I am striking today for the future of nursing because we need to make nursing a profession that people want to go into.”
She stressed that recruitment and retention in care are the “key issues” right now.
“None of us got into nursing for the pay, we got into nursing to make sure we could take care of people properly and we can’t do that at the moment,” Ms Pierri said care times.
“We can’t recruit the staff, we can’t retain the staff, and that’s detrimental to patient care.”
More on the RCN strikes