How district nurses can support team wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond
The NHS Long Term Plan (NHS England, 2019) acknowledged that nurses were under pressure even prior to the pandemic. Over the past 10 years, recruitment has not met demand, and there were 38 785 nursing vacancies unfilled in December 2019, when details emerged of the first cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China (NHS Digital, 2020).
During the past 10 years, this decrease in staffing has been reflected in the community nursing specialism, with the number of qualified district nurses reducing by 43% (Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN), 2019).
The pressures of community nursing are recognised as having similarities with but also differences from those faced by nurses working in hospital settings. Although the causes of workplace pressures may not exactly align, absence rates attributed to mental health have been consistently high in all nursing professionals and appear to be increasing.
The causes of stress within