2016 Conference Presentation
Objective: To establish a consensus view on the training and professional development needs of registered nurses employed by UK care homes
Methods: A two stage, online modified Delphi study with a panel of experts (n=352) representing: (i) care home nurses and managers; (ii) community healthcare professionals (including general practitioners, geriatricians, specialist and district nurses); and (iii) nurse educators in higher education.
Results: The consensus was that registered nurses in care homes require particular skills, knowledge, competence and experience in order to provide high quality care for older residents. The most important stated responsibilities for the care home nurse were: promoting dignity, personhood and wellbeing, ensuring resident safety and enhancing quality of life. Priorities for continuing professional development (CPD) included personal care, dementia care and managing long-term conditions. The main barrier for care home nurses accessing CPD was staff shortages. Nursing degree programmes were perceived as not adequately preparing nurses for care home nursing.
Policy implications: If care home nurses are not fit for purpose, the consequences for the rest of health and social care are significant. Care homes, the NHS and educational authorities need to work together to provide challenging and rewarding career paths for registered nurses and evaluate them. Without well-trained, motivated staff, high quality of care in residential settings will remain merely an aspiration.