Professional Nurse Advocate (PNA) is a training programme designed to address the high levels of burnout and turnover among NHS nurses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic (House of Commons, 2021).
The programme aims to enhance working conditions and increase staff capacity, resilience, and disaster preparedness, thus ensuring effective patient care and a sustainable workforce.
As part of the NHS national recovery plan, and to support staff during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS England and Improvement commissioned the development and training of PNAs.
Dr Naim Abdulmohdi and colleagues developed a programme that utilises an evidence-based framework to enhance the emotional and physical wellbeing of those providing care, and in turn the quality of care provided to service users and their families.
Nurses on the course are trained to embed the A-EQUIP Model (Advocating and Educating for Quality Improvement) into nursing clinical practice. They learn to facilitate restorative clinical supervision; develop cultures of learning and development; and monitor and improve care in clinical practice with colleagues across the UK.
By clinically implementing the PNA role, practitioners become empowered, and are enabled to maintain their resilience and wellbeing.
Since February 2021, around 1,000 nurses from all regions of the UK have completed the programme and integrated their role as PNAs into clinical practice. The ARU team are currently running the evaluation of the impact of integrating the role of PNA on nursing clinical practice and staff retention.
The project is now in its second year and has expanded to training allied health professionals. Two papers relating to the project are currently undergoing peer review.
This project is part of larger national efforts and commitments to support staff wellbeing (NHS Health And Wellbeing Framework, 2018) workforce sustainability (NHS Long Term Plan, 2019; WHO Workforce Strategy 2030, 2016). It is also particularly well aligned with the following UN Sustainable Goals (SDGs):
This project is led by Dr Naim Abdulmohdi, who is also leading the first and fourth phases of the PNA research evaluation project.
Linda Flack is the Module Leader for ARU's Professional Advocate Preparation course, and part of a national subgroup working on developing an electronic supervisor training guide.
Both are are members of the national Higher Education Institute (HEI) Roundtable Discussion Group for the PNA.