The new permanent chief nurse at Scotland’s national regulator for social care services has highlighted the “crucial” need to retain nursing staff in the sector and has vowed to “promote and champion” the work they do.
Marie McKerry, a specialist public health practitioner, nurse and midwife by background, has been appointed to the chief nurse role at the Care Inspectorate on a permanent basis after being in post in an interim capacity.
In an exclusive blog for Nursing Times, she has shared further information about her expertise and passion for social care services, while outlining retention and recruitment challenges within the sector.
In her chief nurse post, Ms McKerry will work in partnership with registered services to support quality improvement and will provide strategic clinical leadership.
As Scotland continues to move towards a National Care Service, her focus will be around Covid-19 recovery, supporting effective partnerships and on the wellbeing of people who experience social care services in the country.
In her article for Nursing Times, Ms McKerry recognised that the provision of safe, high-quality care required the sector to “attract and retain nurses at a time of significant recruitment challenges”.
“Attracting nurses to stay in social care is crucial and needs the determination of every partner agency to make sure that nursing expertise is available at the right time and in the right place,” she said.
Ms McKerry also paid tribute to nurses and social care colleagues who she said had “remained resilient during the last two years”.
“They have worked tirelessly to support people in the very challenging circumstances, staff need to know they are highly valued,” she said.
“I want to promote and champion the great work of nurses and social care workers.”
She added that “finding meaningful ways to support staff wellbeing” was also of “great importance” to her and her team.
Nursing Times launched its Covid-19: Are You OK? campaign in 2020 to lobby for appropriate mental health and wellbeing support for the profession.