Home Nursing Tackling the nurse shortage: Priory enrolls 200th nurse ahead of International Nurses’ Day

Tackling the nurse shortage: Priory enrolls 200th nurse ahead of International Nurses’ Day

by Kirsty Kirsty

Priory has announced a series of milestones in its efforts tackle the national shortage of specialist mental health nurses through new career development and training initiatives.  

More than 200 trainee nurses have now entered a nurse degree apprenticeship programme at Priory, while the first Priory cohort of advanced clinical practitioner nurses have completed their training.

Priory is celebrating its nursing team as it marks International Nurses’ Day (Sunday 12 May, 2024).

Organisers are using the global awareness day to highlight the “economic power of care”, with the aim to demonstrate how strategic investment in nursing can bring economic and societal benefits. 

Because of the national shortage of nurses, especially in mental health, Priory is recruiting and developing specialist nurses more innovatively than ever before.  

Colin Quick, chief quality officer and chief nurse at Priory, said: “From our trainee nurses right through to experienced nurse leaders, it is vital that we offer clear career development and pathways for our dedicated team members, supporting colleagues to ‘earn as they learn’.  

“Recruitment and retention have been a major issue in health and social care nationally, especially in mental health, but we’re proud that Priory is bucking that trend. We have increased our nurse headcount by more than 27 full time equivalent roles so far this year alone, and reduced overall staff turnover to its lowest level in more than three years, through a clear focus on both improved pay and professional development opportunities.  

“This is making a big difference on the frontline, improving the specialist care we can provide to the people we support.” 

Priory’s nurse degree apprenticeship course, delivered in partnership with the University of Bolton, offers existing employees the chance to achieve the industry-recognised standards and qualifications. The apprenticeship includes elements of on-the-job and off-the-job training. 

A further 15 nurses have completed their advanced clinical practitioner (ACP) qualifications at Priory this year, as part of the organisation’s first ACP cohort. The initiative is part of Priory’s investment in supporting experienced nurses to develop specialist skills and careers in mental health. 

Advanced clinical practitioners are nurses with diagnostic authority, qualified to assess, diagnose, manage, and care for patients with complex clinical issues.

Research shows that advanced clinical practitioners support better delivery of services and improve a range of outcomes for patients. 

The measures to support nursing staff to develop specialist mental health careers comes as a new staff engagement survey at Priory revealed 81% of Priory staff members had confidence in their developmental and training opportunities, with 93% of staff inspired by the difference their work was making to the lives of people they care for. 

Newly-qualified nurses beginning their careers at Priory also now benefit from a preceptorship programme, which has received its quality mark from NHS England.   

Priory, the UK’s largest independent mental health and social care provider, is the first independent mental health provider in the country to be awarded the National Preceptorship Interim Quality Mark by NHS England for its Nursing Preceptorship Programme. 

Preceptorships are the way in which newly registered professionals, including nurses, are welcomed into an organisation and supported to develop in their role. According to NHS England, a successful programme enables individuals to “build confidence as they transition from student to autonomous professional.” 

The Quality Mark, the national gold standard, was created in October 2022 when NHS England introduced the new national Preceptorship framework for Nursing. The award means that new nurses at Priory can expect a high quality preceptorship, with specialist training and guidance in a supportive environment. 

Priory has also launched a new Nursing Development Group in 2024, ahead of International Nurses’ Day. Comprising clinical leaders, frontline nurses and newly qualified nurses – across healthcare and adult social care – the group oversees the implementation of national nursing strategies and developments, nursing activities and events, the nursing career pathway and more. 

Priory, which operates healthcare and adult social care sites across the UK, supports  more than 28,000 people a year, with 84% of its services currently rated ‘good’ or better by regulators.  To enquire about joining Priory, or pursuing a nursing apprenticeship, contact jobs@priorygroup.com or visit the careers at Priory website.   

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