The Royal College of Nursing has launched a major bus advertising campaign to demonstrate to the public the reality of modern day nursing.
“This is Nursing” adverts will appear on buses around the UK and tube stations in London for the next two weeks, starting today.
The campaign shows nurses combining their clinical skills with their emotional strength in challenging situations.
The campaign follows a series of negative reports and cases on nursing over the last few years, such as Winterbourne View and examples highlighted by the Patients Association. The profession is also expected to find itself under further scrutiny when the final report into the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry is published later in the autumn.
The RCN hopes to demonstrate to the public the work that modern nurses do, through simply told, emotional stories about the care delivered by nurses. The examples given are positive but so not shy away from the profound challenges the profession faces.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “These adverts are the RCN’s way of showing the extraordinary skill, care and compassion our members demonstrate with their patients every single day.
“We also want to show that despite all of these skills, nurses work under a great deal of pressure. We want to invite members of the public to imagine what it might be like to be the nurse, dealing with life or death situations and being with people at the crucial moments in their lives.”
He added: “We know it takes a remarkable person to be a nurse; it is time we told the world.
“We have all read the critical coverage of the nursing profession and we would never shy away from the cases of poor care when they exist. However, when poor care does exist, there are often systematic reasons behind it. This is Nursing will also explore what these factors are and how they can be tackled.”
Speaking this morning on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Mr Carter noted that the college fully supported action against nurses who were “culpable” of poor practice. But he suggested employers should be held responsible where nurses were put in positions beyond their control, such as short staffing.
In addition to the advertising campaign, nurses are invited to visit a website showing them ways to get involved with the initiative.
Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “This campaign should make us all stop, think and take the time to celebrate the skill and compassion nurses are providing day in, day out, in our NHS. Nursing requires impressive clinical skills as well as the most important thing for patients - large amounts of care and compassion.
“The government looks forward to working to support the Royal College of Nursing as their campaign progresses.”