Why do nurses choose to work with older people?

Opportunity, meaningful relationships and variety – these are just some of the motivations behind working with older people according to a recent survey.

The Care to Care survey, run by Bupa in partnership with Royal College of Nursing (RCN), aimed to dispel misconceptions that the route favoured by many is a less superior area of nursing.

In fact, 82% of those questions felt that their career as a nurse for older people gave them the experience in dealing with complex health issues, while three quarters felt the line of work presented an opportunity to advance their clinical skills.

Joan Elliot, Managing Director for Bupa Care Homes, said she hoped the figures would persuade others into the field,

“It’s great to see nurses acknowledge the variety of clinical and personal skills involved in working with older people, and it’s vital that we dispel the misconception that these roles are less clinical or slower-paced. As the research shows, older people’s care nursing can be a hugely rewarding career, and I hope this encourages more people to consider it,” she said.

Dawne Garrett, Professional Lead for the Care of Older People and Dementia at the RCN agreed that encouraging more trainee nurses into the profession was important,

“With the population getting older, older people’s care nursing is becoming more important than ever before, and it’s vital that we’re attracting the right people to the role. These findings will inspire current nurses and those new to the profession to consider a career in the field. It is a flexible, varied and above all highly rewarding career, empowering individuals to make a tangible difference to the lives of older people.”

Not only did participants respond favourably to their chosen career path in terms of the challenges, but there were also high scores with regards to training and support. 88% agreed they had sufficient training to do their jobs, and 92% felt confident in applying this training.

So what encouraged these nurses into the profession in the first instance? 81% said it was to provide continuity of care. Helen Baxendale, Lead Nurse for Bupa Care Homes, commented on her career up until this point,

“I never considered a career working with older people but got into it by chance after finishing my nursing training. That was 28 years ago, and I haven’t looked back! It’s allowed me to build up meaningful relationships with residents and their families, as well as being able to put my clinical and leadership skills to good use in a variety of challenging ways.

“Over the years I’ve worked in and managed care homes, and now I work in the central quality and compliance team, helping to ensure all our home managers and their staff are supporting our residents to live meaningful lives in care homes that deliver great quality care. The roles I have undertaken have been really varied, but I’ve found great support throughout my career and have been able to develop a career that’s perfect for me” she said.

In light of International Nurses Day, we would like to highlight the dedication of all nurses, whomever they work with and in whatever organisation they may work within. This day helps to acknowledge the hard work they put in day in, day out.

To find out about McClarrons’ Care & Social Welfare offering, visit our Care page, here.

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