Patient safety: safe staffing and knowing when not to compromise

Our podcast guest stresses the importance of nurses reporting staffing issues, and urges them to act if they think working standards are being eroded

Professor of nursing workforce and policy Jane Ball. Picture: Chris Balcombe

The link between nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes has been proven time and again – so why do we have a persistent shortage of nurses?

Is it all due to lack of funding? And do, or should, nurses have a role in calling this out and finding solutions?

These questions are explored in the latest episode of the Nursing Standard podcast, which hears from Jane Ball, professor of nursing workforce and policy at the University of Southampton, who has spent 30 years researching nurse staffing issues.

She speaks about the positive impact on patient care of having the right number of nurses who are well-trained and have a good working environment.

Address workforce planning and nurses’ pay now, professor says

Professor Ball also talks about how the pandemic has shown both the importance and disregard of nursing, and the danger of government and policymakers thinking the profession does not need workplace planning or to be fairly rewarded.

She also advises nurses to report short-staffing and not to let their context – working environment or workforce pressures – allow them to compromise on this vital safety issue.

Nurses urged to stand up for themselves

Speaking to Nursing Standard editor Flavia Munn before the annual International Nurses’ Day on 12 May, Professor Ball says the value of nursing can be shown by nurses demonstrating their worth by not letting their expectations or standards be knocked.

Professor Ball will be speaking about her research and valuing nursing in her inaugural lecture at University of Southampton on 12 May.

More Nursing Standard podcasts

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