As a learning disability nurse working directly in social care for many years, I have always been conscious of the benefits and importance of having nurses working directly in social care. The organisation I work with, Achieve together, have always believed that employing nurses adds significant value to the quality of support we offer.
This may be to enhance the support to an individual, making sure the supporting team are sufficiently skilled, knowledgeable, confident and resilient, to our commitment to focusing on research and evidence based practice, and that we have clarity of vision in our aspirations for people.
I was delighted to hear that a new category had been added to the Nursing Times Awards, Nursing in Social Care. As we know, many nurses do not work in the NHS and to have recognition in these prestigious awards of the importance of the work achieved by nurses in social care was something that made me feel really proud of the work I and others have been doing.
At the Awards Judging Day we were able to meet the inspirational Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE (Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care), such a great model for all nurses working in social care. This is an important role to raise the profile of nurses in the social care sector.
As a specific example of focus for the nursing team in Achieve together, the fact that we were involved in the development and launch of the PMLD Core & Essential Service Standards was an aspect of support that I felt would be significant to demonstrate at the awards. Both to celebrate the work that our internal nursing team had achieved to implement and embed the Standards, and also to ensure we can promote the Standards more widely.
This is important to our nursing team, as we see at first hand the benefits to people with profound and multiple learning disabilities of living in their local community, and being supported by skilled support teams. The Standards provide much needed structure to support teams, while ensuring a clear benchmark of what ‘good’ looks like.
The PMLD Core & Essential Service Standards are designed to be used in a variety of settings, including Education, Health and Social Care, and to be a focus of attention for providers, families, commissioners and regulators. As a nursing team in Achieve together we are keen to see these being more widely used by all these parties, to ensure together we can enhance support and services across the UK for this population of people.
Being part of the Nursing Times Awards was such a great experience. On the Awards evening we had no anticipation of winning the award, as it was such a strong category, and obviously thrilled to have won. We see that as a recognition of all the great work our support teams have been engaged in, especially in maintaining the wellbeing of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities during the pandemic.
We are also proud of the role that, as nurses, we play in that support and vision. Ultimately the key objective for me is that we continue to use these Standards to make a lasting positive impact in people’s lives, together, with education, health and social care working together in a unified way.