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The new caring

'Care makers aim to get people excited about nursing again'

Care, Compassion, Communication, Competence, Commitment and Courage - the 6Cs.

To some, this list may just appear as clever alliteration but, to others, it is the basis of the new vision for nursing and midwifery set out by chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and the Department of Health’s director of nursing Viv Bennett at the CNO conference last year.

This event not only brought together hundreds of nurses to launch the new strategy - it also introduced a new role, that of “care maker”.

Following the Gamesmakers’ Olympic legacy, we were asked to submit 100 words on why we would be great care makers. Then 50 student and newly qualified nurses were selected from 250 applicants, and made their way to Manchester to become the face of the conference and the voice of the 6Cs. We helped to organise, support and promote and, in return, were granted the opportunity to attend talks and meet some incredible people - including each other.

Though our role is still being developed, we are primarily ambassadors for the vision, advocates for nursing and champions of good practice. It is our aim to share the message of the 6Cs - a vision that condenses centuries of nursing knowledge into the core values that define what we do. We hope we can get people excited about nursing again and, maybe, even restore a little of the pride lost by a profession that has taken quite a battering of late.

Of course, we do not expect to fix all the problems within nursing, and we are not oblivious to the fact that more nurses and better resources are desperately needed to improve care.

It is important that excellent practice is shared, and we hope to learn this from our experienced colleagues and pass it on. We are not here to tell more experienced nurses what to do or how to do it, and we are most certainly not David Cameron’s little minions sent to inspect and criticise. Any poor care we encounter will be dealt with in the same way as it would by any other nurse, by following whistleblowing policy and reporting it to our seniors.

You may question why all nurses are not care makers, or why experienced nurses were not asked to take on this role. As students and newly qualified nurses, we are ideally placed to reach more people than your average nurse on a ward through our network of university and placement contacts.

This is not to say that other nurses cannot take on the role, or that it is not part of a nurse’s role already to share good practice. It is merely that we have not yet had the enthusiasm and idealism squashed out of us by the demands of an increasingly difficult job - and, perhaps, through the development of a national network of care makers to support each other, we never will.

Call us hopeful, call us naive - but we are the nurses of the future. We are the managers and leaders of the future and we are convinced that we can make care better.

Laura Carter is third-year student nurse at the joint faculty of health, social care and education, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London


Readers' comments (67)

  • Laura

    Not long before you qualify !

    I an sure you are looking forward to being personally responsible for providing care for at least six (often more) patients.

    You will be able, at the very most ,to devote 10 minutes of "care" to each of your patients per hour !

    Which one will you care for first ? Who is going to be the last to receive "care"

    Of course things don't always work neatly , you may have to spent 30 minutes or more giving IV medication-- how are your other patients going to be cared for?

    Are you ready for the nasty aggressive relative who will accuse you of "neglecting" their "loved one"

    Life is going to change for you Laura. clearly you have not yet understood how great the change will be. Dont underestimate the challenge you will have to overcome !

    Enjoy what remains of your student days !

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  • "...but we are the nurses of the future. We are the managers and leaders of the future and we are convinced that we can make care better."

    what nurse didn't think that when they first qualified. so what is the difference now between this generation and all the previous ones?

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  • tinkerbell

    they will come to 'know' once they have the experience of what other nurses already 'know'. They will need the experience of that reality to 'know' what it is like to work without enough staff to provide quality care.

    With the best will in the world it is very hard to do something with almost nothing, in that situation you are just doing the best you can with what you' ve got and coping is not the same as caring, and most nurses are just coping as best they can right now and that is what causes the frustration and burn out, knowing they would like to have enough staff to care not just cope.

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  • how much time will you be spending on the wards looking after patients?

    if you encounter 'poor care' do you think there is any other way to manage it other than the whistle-blowing policy or reporting it to seniors?

    do you know why the other 200 applicants (80%) were not deemed good enough to become a care-makers?

    you are certainly nurses of the future but how can you know you are managers and leaders of the future - was that part of the deal?

    why do you think we need care-makers, what has happened to nursing/nurse education that we apparently no longer have the 6 c's?

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  • Laura, this article, was it all your own words or did you receive any help in writing it?

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  • laura, could you please tell me what poor care you are expecting to see. Can you give me some scenarios and how you feel you could best deal with them, is reporting it to a senior colleague the end of your responsibility? What will you do if it is a senior manager who you feel is offering poor care?

    Are you working full time on a ward somewhere, are you being paid the same as all other NQs and how much of your role will be in an 'ambassadors' role?

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  • Anonymous | 17-Jan-2013 6:18 pm

    in addition to your questions, it could also be that a senior nurse does not acknowledge an incidence of bad care. They could be right or wrong and your judgement could also be incorrect. How would you address this?

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  • if care-makers are 'primarily' ambassadors does that mean nursing comes second.

    can care-makers guarantee that they will always be able to deliver the 6 c's to every patient, every shift, every day. what will happen if they can't?

    who will a caremaker report poor care to if they are the senior person on duty. are they also expecting to have their care observed and monitored and, if necessary, reported to someone more senior.

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  • I would like to know why experienced nurses were not asked to be caremakers. Are we an after-thought? Are we only being considered worthy now because we questioned it? or because common-sense tells everyone that 50 is nowhere near enough.

    can someone tell me how much time a caremaker will spend directly looking after patients and how they intend to support staff who are struggling.

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  • "the 6Cs.
    To some, this list may just appear as clever alliteration...."

    No! There is nothing clever about it. It is unbearable guff, as I'm afraid, is the scam of care makers. However, Laura, I sincerely wish you the best in your career. When the reality of being a nurse in a climate of no staff, no resources, no support, etc, etc. bites,(and it will) the earth will be pitted with craters of you and your cohort hitting it with a thump.

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  • I don't understand what is meant by the phrase 'primarily ambassadors for the vision'. How much of a students time is being spent on this 'vision'.

    When you are coming to the end of your training or about to qualify isn't your primary responsibility to learn how to be a safe staff nurse, learn about medication, learn about the illnesses affecting the patient in your care, learn how to work as part of a team, learn how to look after patients.

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  • Laura, good luck with this,can all care-makers guarantee and give us their assurance that once they do get to work on a ward they will be delivering exlempary care to every single one of their patients? Like everyone else their work will be observed, do you believe that a caremaker will be treated any differently than any other newly qualified nurse? What will they do if a member of staff, patient or relative observes what they perceive as poor care carried out by yourself or a fellow care-maker?

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  • Is it true that 46 million pounds has been spent on this 'initiative' - how many beds would that have created, how many nursing posts would that have created, how may operations would that have funded.

    The NHS is going down the swanny, hospitals are going into administration, patients lives are put at risk every day through staff shortages, nurses are at their wits end and the government have just spent 46 million pounds of our money.

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  • tinkerbell

    in the current climate this initiative is a sticking plaster on a festering wound which is about to erupt.

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  • How are care-makers going to share good practice? are they going to be moving from ward to ward?

    if poor practice is reported does this also mean good practice will be reported? - are caremakers going to be the link nurses to the newspapers?

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  • I suspect that all of the chosen caregivers are 20 somethings for whom the nursing course was their first experience of being a student, and that this is their first job.
    I don't think that those of us who have adopted nursing as a second career would fit the mould as we were already worldly wise and cynical before even starting the course, and so would not be suitable for this idealistic view.

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  • Anonymous | 18-Jan-2013 10:45 am

    it is well known in the theory or organisational psychology (and proven in practice) that employers favour young newly qualified workers in many posts such as nursing as they can manipulate them and mould them to their own philosophy and organisational culture no matter how healthy or pathological or toxic this is (not forgetting the fact that they are also cheaper to employ). quite a few climb up the career ladder over the years with this fixed mind set to positions of power. others with valid and useful and often much broader experience from outside the organisation who could make a positive contribution to its core purpose and function, such as improving patient care, are not always welcome as there is a risk of exposure of poor practice and introducing change which people are not happy with as it involves effort on their part and generally upsets the status quo. Older and more experienced individuals often have more self-confidence and a tendency to speak out which is not always considered acceptable by those with such a rigid mind set!

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  • one solution would be for more nurses to retire or seek new pastures and leave nursing to these excited care makers and see what influence this has on standards of patient care and the managerial, governmental, public and media perceptions of it!

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  • how did student nurses ever get accepted onto their course without having the 6 c's, how does any nurse, HCA or trained, get to be employed if they don't possess the 6 c's.

    surely the c's should have been the motivation for people to want to go into nursing in the first place.

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  • Anonymous | 18-Jan-2013 9:59 am

    "Is it true that 46 million pounds has been spent on this 'initiative' -"

    I certainly hope not. Where did the figure come from.

    One bit of advice Laura, when you get to the wards, don`t do too much talking. Just roll your sleeves up and muck in with everyone else.

    Last thing we need is more talk, especially about the 6c`s.

    Good luck kiddo.

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