Last week was one of the highlights of my career and I am guessing that of many nurses too. On Wednesday, we went to a lunchtime reception for Nursing Times Awards finalists at Clarence House hosted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
I had the privilege of introducing him to over 100 nurses. He talked to them about their roles and their work, and was fascinated to learn more about how they are improving care for patients and the pressures that they work under and challenges they face.
What he said to all of the finalists was that he wanted to give something back and say thank you for the hard work that they did.
The thrill they felt at being able to meet him was palpable and they were all genuinely excited about being able to tell him about nursing, and impressed by how much he knew and cared about the profession.
The awards are always a special event. But having that royal involvement elevated them this year. His Royal Highness gave the finalists a morale boost that cannot be captured in words.
Despite all the challenges and criticism that nursing faces, the awards continue to show that nurses are out there improving care to enhance the lives of their patients
The room felt energised. It was a moment to savour. Because despite all the challenges and criticism that nursing faces, the awards continue to show that nurses are out there improving care and innovating to enhance the lives of their patients. It is inspiring.
Robert Francis QC was our guest speaker for the evening. Interestingly enough, our directors of nursing survey results (see page 2) indicate that more than half of the nurses who replied felt that his seminal report on care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust would not have a long-term impact.
This is a huge worry, especially as around a third of them feel that they don’t have enough nurses to deliver good-quality care that is safe and delivers a good patient experience.
Francis needs to have an impact on the health service. All that work, all that forensic detail is all for nothing if we do not learn from it. As Francis told the Nursing Times Awards audience last week, we must find ways of making it really really difficult to deliver bad care.
It is not enough to read the Francis report and make a pledge to change. What the report requires is action. Nurses are all about taking action - the awards prove that. And although the care failings are not just about nursing, the profession can take a lead in showing the rest of the health service how to just get on - and change.
Jenni Middleton, editor
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed