Our people are our most valuable partners and the past year has proven this more than ever. The pandemic has been tough on everyone, and our people were incredibly committed to supporting the people of Edinburgh through this crisis. Many staff were temporarily redeployed to support our response to covid-19, with our 2020 iMatter pulse survey showing that 78% of respondents had experienced a change either in their job role or the environment they work in during the pandemic. This included staff who were redeployed to support continuing services, for example, staff from day care centres that had to close due to the restrictions worked alongside existing teams to enhance support in our residential units and home care service.
Through our transformation programme, we have been developing our inaugural workforce strategy, to help us ensure that we have a skilled and capable workforce that can deliver our vision of ‘a caring, healthier and safer Edinburgh’. It will set out our vision and priorities for the workforce and a pathway for where we need to be. The strategy focuses on both our own workforce across the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian as well as the implications for those we work with such as the third and independent sectors, volunteers and the role of carers. At the end of 2020-21 we began engagement with staff on the proposed strategy.
While the pandemic caused some delay in this project, it has also been a catalyst for positive change, expediting changes to how and where we work as well as how we engage, network and communicate.
Once a nurse, always a nurse – A journey back to District Nursing
Sue works within our organisational development team but was asked to return to clinical practice for two months during the pandemic to support our district nursing team. It had been 18 years since Sue worked fully in district nursing, though she had picked up the odd shift to support the team over that time. Sue recently wrote about the experience of returning to the frontline:
“I have to say it was the most valuable and grounding experience, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity. The extraordinary care, which is provided by community teams 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is truly inspiring. Being alongside caring and compassionate staff at all levels, feeling welcomed, safe and supported, enabled me to transition quickly back into a role I had loved, albeit such a long time since I had held a caseload in the community.
I knew my capabilities and limitations, so with the support of the DN Team Lead and the community nursing team, we agreed what was realistic and achievable in terms of competencies and clinical skills in a two-month period, ensuring patient safety at all times.”