Why is it that everyone seems to know what nursing needs to get better?
From the prime minister to journalists, everyone has an opinion on how to fix nursing. Suddenly everyone is an expert – and their improvement strategies are definitely more stick than carrot.
What must it be like in the newsrooms of some tabloids? “Let’s have a go at nurses trying to concentrate on drug calculations, let’s moan that nurses are having lessons in how to care.” Even the positive stories are twisted into a verbal right hook.
But I just think there is another way. Standards would be raised if we set a benchmark and held it up to show others what they could achieve. And by rewarding and recognising excellence we’d be championing nurses in the profession, encouraging others to choose it as a career and restoring the public’s faith in nursing.
So three cheers then for the Heart of England Foundation Trust, already a Nursing Times Award winner in 2011, for doing exactly that. This week, the trust is launching its HEFT badges. They are awarded to nurses who have demonstrated professionalism and excellence in clinical standards and knowledge.
The trust will assess nurses’ knowledge on core clinical topics, and only after receiving 100% on those vital aspects of their role and demonstrating a commitment to the HEFT values do they get their badges. And I am sure when those nurses pin the badges on their uniforms they will flush with pride.
The old hospital badges always gave nurses a sense of belonging and a sense of pride. It’s more than the sum of its parts – the metal, the enamel and the pin – a badge of honour and achievement is something all nurses should be wearing.