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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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