On the list next year

Do you ever think we’re barking up the wrong tree?  Got hold of the wrong end of the stick?

The road to somewhere is paved with good intentions.  We get ourselves revved up and ready to go and just as we take the breaks off, realise we are facing in the wrong direction.

We might be… It’s hard to believe, but we might be.

Talk to nurse leaders and they will tell you the big issue for nursing; the fact they haven’t had a proper pay-rise for seven years.

It strikes a chord.  Who would be happy not to have had a pay rise for seven years.  The RCN tell us nurses are about 14% worse off because of it.

Nurses are hacked-off.  I get that.  Except, that might not be true… well, true but not in quite the way we think.

In a fascinating report ‘Time to Care‘ from management consultancy Deloitte, they have swept Europe for facts and figures, thinking about the future for the hospital workforce.

Looking across the continental labour market is important.  It is no secret; applications from EU nationals, to come here and work in the health service, have fallen off a cliff.  Down by over 90%.  There are over 10,000 EU nationals working in the NHS and a lot of them are, already, heading for home.

How the EU health labour market works, their problems, are important to us.  Even after leaving the EU, we will have to find a way of creating a special status for them, to bolster our numbers, at least until we can get the ‘home-grown’ solution working.   

So what makes nurses tick?  What impacts on job satisfaction?  Give them a pay-rise, shout the headlines.  As welcome as a few more quid might be… there are other things.

This forensic report tells us (Page 23), if you are a nurse in Switzerland, pay would be your number one priority.

In the NHS pay rates fourth… behind; recognition, support from the immediate team and ability to use skills.  Shortly after comes pay and opportunities for continuing professional development.


What do you think hacks nurses off?  Pay, if you work in Sweden, Switzerland or Finland.  Here, pay follows work-life balance.  After pay comes flexibility of shifts, time to spend with patients and recognition.

Here’s something else you need to know; over 32% of respondents said they were thinking of leaving their job, nurses being less likely to remain loyal to their profession.

Take time to read the report, it covers doctors and nurses and has some great graphics, all ready to pinch for your PowerPoint.  Also, take time to think about what it tells us.

Pay is definitely a factor.  Students, coming into nursing probably take into account, once qualified, pay is not far off the national average.  Student debt repayments are minimal and are probably not a factor in the early days.  Moving through the career, increments though grading and professional progression are still available.  

The key factors, right across the EU are for the employer.  What kind of an employer are you?  Pay is not an isolated driver for attracting and retaining staff.  

Nationally negotiated pay makes creating differentials, tricky.  But, local conditions of work are well within the purview of the organisation.

The difficulty of managing workload troubles over half of our doctors and nurses but not as much as it troubles colleagues in Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The report tells us:

“Where staff  satisfaction and wellbeing had improved in recent years, this was considered to be linked to better engagement with staff  across teams, better transparency around the objectives and goals of the organisation, and a visible and engaged leadership.”

Forget the money?  No, but don’t forget transparency, training, leadership development, anti-bullying, a sense of belonging, healthy food, protected breaks, fitness classes, creche, support for staff who are carers, bespoke return to work schemes… and being nice to each other.

People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers, bosses and working conditions.

This is a really good read.  Deloitte know a thing or two about looking after staff.  Last year they were one of Fortune Magazine’s Top 100 employers.

What’s the chance of seeing the NHS on the list next year…


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