YOUNG people should think about a career in nursing in order to avoid a “recruitment crisis.”
That was the message from health professionals as the country marked Nurses Day yesterday.
Almost 200,000 nurses are due to retire in the next decade which could cause problems unless more young people consider it as a career, said the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
A poll for the union – of more than 8,600 seven to 17-year-olds – found that only one in 20 thought nursing was the right profession for them.
In Huddersfield, Matron Pat Maxfield, with more than 42 years experience and student nurse Craig Dominique-Smith, who became a student nurse in January, joined the celebration of nursing.
Pat, from Meltham, and Craig, from Marsh, currently work on Ward 9 at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and also work at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
Pat said: “I am proud to be a nurse. I am proud every day to drive to my work. A lot has changed over the years but what remains the same is that the patient remains at the centre of all that we do.”
Pat, 60, started nurse training in 1968 but before that completed a year as a shorthand typist as St Luke’s Hospital. She had had a serious road accident and her mother thought nursing would be too physically tough for her.
She said: “I tried it but the office work didn’t suit me at all so I started nursing training and never looked back.” She was appointed a modern matron six years ago.
Craig, 27, had been a healthcare assistant but has gone to Huddersfield University to start his nurse training.
He said: “The best aspect of this career is the job satisfaction from looking after patients. Nurses deserve a special day as they can sometimes be overlooked for the work they do. Everyone here has been so supportive I feel privileged to be part of the team at on ward 9.”
The pair are among nearly 2,500 nurses and healthcare assistants.
RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “With nearly 200,000 nurses due to retire in the next decade, we’ve all got a responsibility to tell people about the benefits of a career in nursing.
“It’s clear that the image of nursing does not reflect the reality.
“Modern nursing is a dynamic career, providing an incredibly broad range of opportunities and a real chance to have an interesting, successful career that makes a real difference to other people’s lives”.
May 12 is Nurses Day as it is also the birthday of Florence Nightingale who was born in 1820. She died in 1910 aged 90.