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Lisa Bayliss-Pratt: 'Students will be told how to get caring right from day one'


Health Education England has signed up to embedding the 6Cs in education and training, says Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

While I would be the first person to defend the reputation of the NHS, and rightly point to all those occasions when nursing care in particular, and wider healthcare in general, is first class - we know there are still too many times when we fail. Of course Mid Staffs has brought this into sharp focus most recently, but let’s not use that as an excuse for wider failings.

Too many things go wrong across the NHS every day, but simply admitting that is not nearly enough. We continue to fail those people who turn to us for help when they need it most if we don’t actively work to make things better and improve the quality of care we offer.

“I am committed to embedding the 6Cs from the moment young people begin to think about nursing as a career”

Health Education England has started its work in this area by signing up to the 6Cs in education and training: care; compassion; competence; communication; courage; and commitment. It is a pledge to drive improvement that I wholeheartedly support. We are ideally placed to play our part in the drive for better care throughout the NHS.

There are currently just under 160,000 people funded by the NHS in the education system. Every minute, £10,000 is spent on their education and training so we have every right to expect the 6Cs mentioned. In fact, if we fail to achieve a minimum of caring, compassion and competence, we’re clearly wasting that money. So I am going to focus on to the other three.

Communication: the NHS has one million face-to-face interactions with patients and the public every 36 hours. The ability to communicate includes having confidence in yourself - speaking like an ordinary person in ordinary language; it involves a lot of listening. We need to teach communications more.

Courage: you need to be brave to be a nurse. The things we see, the things we do, the patients we help and those we lose - the impact of these things on an individual is huge and requires courage. But that’s not nearly enough. Yes, we need to do our jobs but we need to do so much more - we need to stand up for our patients when things are wrong, to stand up to colleagues and to make a stand if that is in the best interests of our patients.

Too often people who should have known better have simply looked the other way. It has to stop. From day one of nurse education and training, we need to be absolutely clear about the right way to do things. Nurse leaders must find their own courage to support anyone acting in the best interests of patients.

Commitment: any nurses joining our education and training programmes will be committed to their course and to the service in which they will work after graduation. I want students to be clear that nursing is a priority for the NHS and it will be an exciting and fulfilling career - it should be a number-one choice, it doesn’t take second place to anything.

Before we spend thousands of pounds training people, we want to interview them and test their commitment. We are recruiting for values and we need to make sure it’s what they really want to do - that doesn’t happen in clearing.

I am confident a cooperative and collaborative approach between service and education providers will give us a future workforce that will not only deliver high-quality care, but will also be equipped to develop and deliver new and dynamic services for patients.

I am committed to embedding the 6Cs from the moment young people begin to think about nursing as a career and ensuring the next generations of nurses and their leaders don’t need to consider implementing their own version.

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt is director of nursing for Health Education England



Readers' comments (22)

  • Instead of sighning up to the "C" nonsense why not ensure that student placements are fit for pupose?

    That of course would require the Bayliss-Pratts of the world to get out of their comfortable offices and ensure that wards are properly staffed and that mentors actually have time to care for students !

    Will this be done ? I doubt it !

    Much easier to continue to expect students to gain good practical experience on understaffed wards and have little or no access to mentors !

    "Embracing" the "C" nonsense is much easier than to challenge the poor quality placements provided to many students !

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  • unless these students and prospective qualified staff are treated right throughout their entire career all the 'C's and the very best will in the world ain't going to help.

    it seems that the 'authorities' of nursing believe that the six 'C's will protect nurses from all ills and all the knocks they will get in life.

    girls and boys, just give an air of confidence, give a nice compassionate smile and communicate, show you have courage against all adversity and turn the other cheek even when there are no other staff to support you, and just soldier on the best you can and deliver as much as you can with your knowledge, skills and competence and the world is your oyster and everybody will worship and adore you, even though none of these attributes will be much use to you if you don't have all the extra resources required to do the job adequately.

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  • student nurses, along with everyone else working within health-care should have compassion and care about people. what will happen to those who are already working who don't care?

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  • the biggest C that seems to be missing is Common Sense - sadly lacking in todays society. Staff need common sense, patients need common sense. Some problems and their solution are so blindingly obvious.

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  • I often disagree with some of the blinkered views expressed on this site, but I do agree with Annonymous 5-Feb-2013 11:14 am:

    'Some problems and their solutions are so blindingly obvious' and you are right, common sense is so often blindingly obviously missing.

    The 6C's are not new, they are part of nursing, they are why most of us became nurses and therefore to say they are rubbish is to say the reasons we became nursing is rubbish. This too is blindingly obvious.

    What some people are missing is if we have a strategy and vision that articulates what we have known all along and the NHS signs up to this, the more intelligent amongst us will see this as a tool to help us fight some of the nonsense that threatens the care we give. For me, this too is blindingly obvious - we can use these 6 values to stand up and fight back.

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  • What about the other 2 C's? Ms Pratt only talks about 4. Can we ignore the others? Already cutting corners.
    Still, nothing like talking a load of gobbeldegook to make people think you are important. Take this beauty, 'The ability to communicate includes having confidence in yourself - speaking like an ordinary person in ordinary language; it involves a lot of listening. We need to teach communications (sic) more.'
    Leaving aside the terrible grammar and syntax of this statement, are we allowed to be 'Ordinary people speaking ordinary language'? Can we now swear at patients when we are busy, tell them to get off their arses and do it themselves? I'm just thinking about the next time I see the consultant and tell him about the patient admitted with a 'Connery'
    Instead, why not encourage us to think we are extraordinary people, doing an extraordinary job, not one that any Tom, Dick or Harry can do.
    Pratt by name, I'm afraid. Bet she hasn't washed a patient since the '80's

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  • " For me, this too is blindingly obvious - we can use these 6 values to stand up and fight back."

    so if anybody complains about care ever again all we have to do is stand up on our soap boxes and pronounce the six 'C's in our defence?

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  • michael stone

    redpaddys12 | 6-Feb-2013 6:30 am

    'speaking like an ordinary person in ordinary language'

    I don't think that is intended to mean swearing at laymen - I suspect it means talking 'like a person' instead of using standard 'defensive phrasing' (one I hate, is 'Lessons have been learnt' from senior managers, with no detailed explanation - meaningless !), not blindly 'following some sort of engagement protocol', and answering questions clearly and openly, in a way that whomever you are talking to might understand.

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  • DH Agent - as if ! | 6-Feb-2013 10:20 am

    I think they will continue repeating that until the unlikely event that they really have learned something ,or somebody challenges them to clarify their meaning, or tells them to stop!

    Just imagine an hc professional committing a dangerous act like a surgeon chopping off the wrong limb and just turning round and tellibg the patient by way of apology that 'lessons have been learned'. What lessons and at whose enormous and irrecuperable cost?

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  • Doesn't say how this is going to be achieved, in the old days when I trained we were interviewed by the hospital Chief Nursing Officer at the hospital we were offered a place at. During our training we were continuously assessed for our attitude, appearance, communication skills - the reason so many nurses are rude, uncaring and thoughtless now is because someone somewhere has allowed them to complete their training and given them a job. If you have a thoughtless careless ward manager then it cascades down and staff get away with bad behaviour, it becomes the 'norm' and anyone who fights against it gets pushed out of the group or leaves.

    I am really hoping the Francis Report puts an end to bullying and puts the responsibility on managers to get rid of useless, rude, lazy, uncaring staff. There are plenty of people out there who would make great nurses, give them the opportunity and get rid of the dross.

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