Pandemic impact on senior charge nurses and midwives explored

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on senior charge nurses and midwives will be explored as part of a new study conducted by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and the University of Stirling.

Experts from the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport (FHSS) will lead the project investigating the unique pandemic challenges and experiences faced by this group, who provide frontline clinical and professional leadership to more than 40 per cent of the NHS workforce.

The new study will focus on staff at NHS Grampian and NHS Lothian health boards, however, its findings will be of significance for health services across Scotland and further afield.

GCU Professor Suzanne Hagen, Deputy Director of the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP RU), is co-applicant and key researcher in the study funded by NHS Grampian and NHS Lothian, which is expected to report its findings early next year.

She said: “I am delighted to be involved in this study. We know through our nurse education and research here at GCU the unique and pivotal role that senior charge nurses play in the NHS. We want to learn more from their recent experiences to support them going forward.”

Dr Stoddart said: “The pandemic has had an impact on all areas of the NHS, however, those in frontline management positions – such as Senior Charge Nurses, Midwives, and Team Leaders – have faced unique challenges over the past 16 months.

“This group has had to provide leadership during one of the most turbulent and transformational periods in the history of the NHS. They have had to react to a changing clinical environment – for example the repurposing of services, the conversion of wards to COVID-19 ‘red zones’, and the movement and redeployment of staff, to name just a few.

“The impact of these significant, wide ranging and rapid changes has affected not only this group, but has had a ripple effect on those teams they manage too.

“Working with our partners, we are keen to understand the impact of the pandemic on the NHS frontline, to help inform and support the restoration and recalibration of services in the future.”

The team will conduct an online survey and undertake interviews to understand the experiences, effects and challenges experienced by the group; identify effective mitigation measures being used; explore support strategies that the group find helpful; and elicit their views on the transition to post COVID-19 services.

Other researchers involved in the study are co-Principal Investigator Dr Carol Bugge, Dr Melanie Dembinsky, and Kathleen Clarke (all of the FHSS); Professor Ronan O’Carroll (Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Stirling); Professor Caroline Hiscox (NHS Grampian); and Dr Juliet McArthur (NHS Lothian).

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