A new report from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warns growing patient demand in Scotland in the UK is creating a perfect storm where patients’ lives will be put at risk due to insufficient nurses on duty.
Health Service in Crisis
The Scottish health sector is in crisis. To save money on paper, many health boards have slashed their staff numbers. Unfortunately, as demand rises, they are then forced to recruit once again, but with vacancies for nurses rising higher than numbers of available staff, there is now a serious shortfall in hospitals and GP surgeries.
The age profile of nurses is also increasing, as older and more experienced nurses are heading for retirement age. 54% of nurses and midwives are now 45 or older, compared to 43% in 2006. As a result, elderly care standards have been badly hit, and with an aging population to take care of, the situation will only get worse.
Scottish Government Dismisses Warnings
The RCN says Scotland needs to address problems within its nursing workforce, but the Scottish government disagrees. The Scottish Health Secretary, Shona Robison, says an increase in nursing vacancies is because of the creation of new nursing posts. Thanks to innovative new technology, health boards are now better able to plan their workforce requirements. The Health Secretary is adamant that the Scottish government is committed to providing greater training opportunities for student nurses to replace an aging workforce. Not surprisingly, the opposition party is not so convinced and describes nurse hiring patterns as “erratic”.
Big Demand for Qualified Nurses
What this report tells us is that there is a serious demand for qualified nurses in Scotland – and in many other countries. Nursing is a profession we cannot afford to do without, so if you are looking for a career where you will always have job security, nursing is a good choice. Once you have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you are free to specialize in any area you like, but if you have ambitions to take your career to the next level, a doctorate in nursing practice is the logical choice, as this follows on from a master’s in nursing.
Great Opportunities for Student Nurses
It is now easier than ever to study to be a nurse. Student nurses typically study at university, with much of their practical nurse training taking place on a hospital ward. Hospitals can’t cope without student nurses and junior doctors, so your services will be in demand once you start your degree course. If you pass your course with flying colors, you can then go on to study for a masters and doctor of nursing practice. Both of these higher qualifications can be studied online via various reputable universities.