University announced as the host of the RCN Foundation Chair in Adult Social Care Nursing, a first of its kind initiative

Categories: School of Health and Society

The RCN Foundation has committed to invest over £700,000 over a five-year period to support and improve adult social care nursing in the UK. The RCN Foundation Chair in Adult Social Care Nursing is a role that will take a strategic lead in shaping research and education in adult social care at a local, national, and international level. 

The RCN Foundation recently conducted a survey aimed at staff working in adult social care which has highlighted the importance of having a sustained focus on adult social care and developing a strong evidence base to enhance practice. Respondents to the survey were positive, passionate, and dedicated in their commitment to working in the adult social care sector. However, they outlined the significant challenges the sector faced in terms of pay and conditions, with 64% of respondents sighting staffing and retention as a major challenge in their role and 54% stating pay was an issue, particularly in comparison to the NHS.

Additionally, it was clear from the survey responses that there is a need for a different approach to encourage more nurses to work in the sector, including undergraduate nurse training, placing a greater emphasis on working in social care as a viable career pathway rather than only the NHS. Of the respondents, 27% want to see an improved career pathway and professional development and believe this is key to encouraging more nurses to work within social care. The survey demonstrated the significant contributions social care nurses make towards healthcare across the UK whilst reinforcing the need for a renewed focus on nurse-led social care provisions.

Following its Annual Lecture yesterday evening (15 November 2023), the RCN Foundation is thrilled to announce that it is working in partnership with the University of Salford to fund and appoint the inaugural RCN Foundation Chair in Adult Social Care Nursing. The University of Salford is now seeking to recruit for this position. The Chair will be based at the University of Salford but will be expected to link across the four countries in the UK whilst working closely with the Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care in England, Professor Deborah Sturdy CBE. This exciting, dynamic role will influence and lead national focus on educational preparation for nurses working in adult social care, liaising with the Council of Deans and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Additionally, the applicant will lead research programmes in all aspects of practice related to Adult Social Care, as well as building capacity and capability of research within this domain.

Deepa Korea, Director of the RCN Foundation, said “We are very pleased to announce this long-term investment to support and improve adult social care in the UK and are excited to be working alongside the University of Salford and see this project come to fruition. The need for a heightened focus on adult social care is vital, evidenced by our survey results of which 36% of respondents were clear in that they want improved career pathways and access to training to support them in their roles in social care. This is therefore a significant and timely opportunity to contribute to innovation and longevity in the sector, something that is clearly desperately needed.”

Professor Margaret Rowe, Dean of the School of Health and Society at the University of Salford, said “We are delighted to have been chosen to host the RCN Foundation Chair in Adult Social Care Nursing. This role, which is the first of its kind, represents a critical opportunity to raise the profile of social care as well as to take a strategic lead in shaping teaching, research and clinical practice in this area. We look forward to working with the RCN Foundation on this important project, and to the benefits it will no doubt bring for our students as we continue to develop and educate the next generation of nurses in adult social care.”

Helen Whately MP, Minister of State (Minister for Social Care), said “This is a monumental step for social care research, with this new role taking the lead in a five-year research programme. The RCN Foundation Chair in Adult Social Care Nursing will help translate research into clinical practice to improve social care. No one should underestimate what you can achieve in a career in social care - whether at the front line or by pursuing research or education. This an achievement for the care workforce as a whole, and it’s another step to make sure care professionals are recognised for their skills and talents.”

Professor Deborah Sturdy CBE, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, said “The appointment of the first RCN Foundation Chair in Adult Social Care Nursing will be a significant moment for social care nursing. This is a catalyst for change, setting the standard for others to follow and helping to demonstrate the skills, experience, and values of the sector as a whole. I am delighted the RCN Foundation sees this as a priority and recognises the importance and value of our incredible social care workforce.”

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