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Nursing shortage crisis: has it really come down to raiding from abroad?



A new report, by NHS Employers, has been issued highlighting that four fifths of NHS organisations in England are facing nursing shortages; with this Yahoo news article also reporting that some organisations have between 50 100 vacancies to fill.


Leaders and managers really must look at recruitment practices and ways to encourage more nurses into the profession. Health Education England (HEE) suggests that former nurses should be urged to return to work to fill staff shortages; as many of the positions which have been empty for at least three months are those that require more experience.


The research also shows that 45 per cent of organisations have actively recruited from outside the UK in the last 12 months to fill open vacancies. But is this really the best resolution to the issue? Should the UK be poaching other countries' trained healthcare workers, especially in the cases where they come from developing countries?


The results featured in the report are staggering and show that there simply isn't the number of trained nurses in the UK to fill the positions, and more needs to be done to ensure that the time nurses have is being used efficiently.


One example is looking into the use of technology that can monitor the vital signs of patients. If nurses were not required to go bed to bed taking vital sign readings every 30 60 minutes they would have more time to work on other areas. Especially, freeing up those more experienced members of staff whose time and expertise are needed elsewhere.


We're not suggesting that technology can replace nurses entirely but is a consideration to improving current working practices to give nurses back more of their valuable time.


We'd love to hear your opinion on this issue, especially if you are a nurse, and it would be great if you could share your thoughts on the below questions.


Nursing poll



  1. If you are a nurse on medical or surgical wards, how many hours (or minutes) do you spend on an average day measuring and recording TPR (temperature, pulse and respiration).

  2. If you are a nurse or midwife on a maternity ward caring for new born babies (not in PICU or HDU), how many hours do you spend on an average day measuring and recording TPRĀ  (temperature, pulse and respiration) on the mothers and babies?

  3. If TPR could be measured and recorded automatically and accurately (such as by camera technology) would you have more time to spend on patient care? Yes/no.

  4. Would this benefit you and your patients? Yes/no.