Anglia Ruskin University

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Exploring the feelings and experiences of critical care nurses being deployed to cover shifts in the ward.

conference contribution
posted on 2023-09-01, 15:12 authored by Naim Abdulmohdi, Ying Huang
Introduction: The shortage of nurses in the NHS is evident and has been recently considered as a ‘national emergency’.1 Staff are leaving the service due to low job satisfaction whilst recruitment and retention continues to be a growing problem.2 The NHS authorities are seeking ways to prioritise patients and preserve safety. Moving critical care nurses to the ward to cover for staff shortage is one of the deployment strategies to ensure the safe number of nurses for the number of patients. Whilst deploying critical care nurses does relieve the shortage of staff temporarily in the wards, this could leave critical care units with unsafe level of nursing staff,3 The stress among the critical care nurses due to being moved to work in the ward should not be ignored. Method: This study adopted a phenomenological approach and a qualitative research methodology, the data was collected using a focus group interview. There were ten participants took part and they were critical care nurses from five different hospitals in England, all with different level of clinical experience. The aim was to discover their positive and negative experiences and feelings of working in the ward in order to cover for staff shortages. Results: The results showed that critical care nurses experienced variety levels of stress and anxiety when being moved to work in the ward, depending on how often they are sent to work in the ward, what support they are receiving when they have been deployed to the ward. Several factors have been identified in this study, they are inadequate support and leadership, lack of ward experience, lack of knowledge of the local guidelines, an unfamiliar environment, and concern over patient’s safety and relative’s satisfaction. NMC (2015) code recommends that nurses should prioritise patients and preserve safety.4 All participants expressed the importance and willingness of supporting the ward, but there is a need for local guidelines or assessments to determine what critical nurses can or cannot do when they are deployed and that there should be more support in place from both the ward and the managers. Some participants suggested rotating critical care nurses to the ward on regular basis to ensure that they are familiar with the environment and the job in the ward when they are deployed. Some suggested that there should be assessment in the ward to assess the competency of the deployed nurses to establish their competencies before assigning them a group of patients and taking responsibilities. Conclusion: Staff shortages exists across NHS hospitals and it is important that authorities actively listen to feedback from the nurses and take actions. Clinical mangers need to adopt a proactive approach to reduce the impact of regularly relocating critical care staff to general wards and perhaps having training or guidelines to support those staff when allocated to work in general wards





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Journal of the Intensive Care Society

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Intensive Care Society State of the Art 2019 Abstracts


International Convention Centre Birmingham

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Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care

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