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Pledge to restore public trust in nursing

The Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery will ask all nurses to make a pledge underlining their commitment to high quality care, their engagement with health service improvement and their professional accountability.

The pledge is intended to complement the Nursing and Midwifery code of practice and help embed the values of the NHS Constitution. It is the commission’s attempt to write a “new story” about nursing that will restore public trust in a profession rocked by examples of poor care in recent years.

It calls on nurses to renew their commitment to the public and patients and by doing so reverse the perception of nurses as “passive”, undervalued, “poorly educated handmaidens” subordinate to doctors.

The pledge is one of a series of the commission’s draft recommendations seen by Nursing Times.

The prime minister set up the commission in March last year to investigate how advances in nurses’ role could be enhanced and to explore public attitudes to nursing. Its final report is due to be published next month.

The pledge will involve all nurses undertaking to “speak out and act” when care falls below agreed standards and to “engage more directly” with health policy making and financial decisions.

It follows concerns expressed to the commissioners that nurses were regarded as “passive implementers” of policy, rather than actively engaged in its making.

It will also require them to promise to adopt healthy lifestyles to become “role models” for the rest of society.


Readers' comments (37)

  • I can see how this would be ideal, but just one thing, could we be allowed to have some kind of a life outside of work? Is this not allowed? Weren't we supposed to be making nursing an attractive career? This kind of dedication with low pay is surely not viable in this day and age...

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  • why don't we have an equivalent to the Hippocratic Oath. It has served the medical profession and their patients worldwide for thousands of years.

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  • More for the poor nurse to do with the same pay, in the same time, the same working conditions, and what is the incentive? I feel there need to be some drastic changes to all of the above. Why on earth would any nurse flog themselves ( even more ) to death for zero benefit to themselves. The nursing body is not collectively responsible for the publics view - it is those who govern their work, recruitment and policy. IMHO.

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  • The patients charter stopped all respect for nurses and removed all the enthusiasm. Nurses would turn themselves inside out for patients at one time and get thanks in return.Now its give give give only to receive complaints and verbal abuse.You can have the nicest patient, and stay on late and do more than is called for, but invariably when they go home youll get a letter of complaint with absolute bare face lies.I wouldnt encourage anyone to go into nursing.Its a completely different NHS to what I went into many years ago and isnt a nice place to work!

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  • Well Said !!! I agree totally with all above comments. Beth Young this is precisely how I feel. Young nurses and young students of nowadays would say " I am here for the money" If the pay is low , nurses will just leave and do something else.

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  • Will I be expected to make this pledge daily before I start my shift?

    Really, is this going to make any difference to the overall quality care that patients receive?

    What will make a real difference, is giving ward staff the power and resources to make quality care a reality. We understand what is required, instead we are spoon-fed platitudes by politicians and scolded by management who deny the resources that are necessary.

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  • If nurses put up with this, we are holding our hands up and accepting the failures in the NHS are our fault.

    The Government wants us to take the fall to protect their image. Let's keep pledging to work harder and harder in poor conditions, with poor resources, and low staffing to level of acuity. The Commission are acting like they have provided us with everything we could dream of and we are still letting them down.

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  • Completely agree with the above and other comments!!
    Here we go again..... on a daily basis I must remind myself that we as nurses are ultimately responsible for all the current failings in the NHS!!! Its the nurses yet again being made scape goats.
    We take the brunt of agression from patients and relatives because I was told 'well you have to shout at someone and you are here!!'
    Im sorry I will NOT be blamed!!
    I work hard and do the job to the very best of my ability BUT I have a life other than work and am sick of being dictated to!!
    The Government need to wake up and smell the coffee!! an oath wont repair the damage already done to the NHS.
    Maybe they should come and work and see actually what a fantastic job a very large percentage of nurses do under very difficult conditions.

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  • An oath is offensive to some religions - so would be a contradiction to the other lists we have been asked to abide by!
    When you apply to go on the register you sign your name to a commitment to abide by NMC etc This latest piece of paper is yet another long winded work designed to keep "the boys" in a job - they call them commissions but the reality is they're all quangoes - if somebody offered me 360 - 1000 pounds for one days work I'd take it!

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  • What does, 'they should use their OWN time well to develop services'......I presume this does not mean time off. So how do we get our OWN time when we can barely keep up with the day job?
    'Nurses should be role models for healthy living'? Working nights...long days, going without breaks, studying in time off, putting in extra hours and never getting time back...( I could go on...)
    The governement should pledge to look after nurses and midwives with respect and we'll take care of the rest.

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  • After working for the NHS for 20 years, I cannot accept the political driven drivel that our country's "leader" is now spouting. My thought on the pledge

    1. As registered nurse we all commit to the code, and am sure the majority of nurses would do anything in their power to stop substandard care, but don't have the resources available to provide a high standard of care, one of the main reasons being a shortage of nurses (this is obviously going to help the recruitment drive)!!

    2. I consider myself to be a family person whilst working full time, and completing a BsC as a requirement of my post, so which bit of my OWN TIME do the blood suckers want now!!

    3. So, after I have completed my BsC, (which I am doing in my OWN TIME), I will then continue on to myMasters followed by my PHd (oops getting carried away, guess I should have been a DR) in order for me to be appropriately trained to undertake research.

    4. Role model for healthy living. MMMMMM??? Is this a way of outing the old, overweight, smoking, alcohol drinkers. Oh well, looks like my time in the NHS doesn't have too much time left. (Discrimanatory maybe). Will new applicants have to complete fitness testing and all current staff as well. How about making our working life more amenable to living healthier lives!!

    5. Take charge of delivering compassionate care, Ok so there have been a few nurses that are criminals and have committed appalling crimes, but don't be tarring us all with that brush.

    6. So we are going to be actively engaged in policy forming, funding, new treatments. Is that in the same way that we were consulted about the PLEDGE. I Don't think so!!

    Is this the MInisters yet again attacking the front line workers of a public service that are doing the best that they can in a very difficult situation, AND don't even get me onto the benefits (lack of) for said staff.

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  • Phil Dup

    So how much money has it cost the taxpayer to fund this latest 'Commission' in order for it to come out with this absolute joke of a 'pledge' that means absolutely zero to the average Nurse working in the blood. vomit and urine stained front end of the NHS.

    Its just one more nice sounding Soundbite churned out by this Government thats designed to put the blame on Nurses for not working ever faster/harder/smarter to try and model the NHS on MacDonalds style business lines -

    "Would you like large fries with your Hip Replacement madam" ?

    Grrr my blood boils at the way these expense account fed leaches think they can tell us how to do a job they have no knowledge of.

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  • generally speaking we are doing all that is in the pledge already, so what was the point of that - I for one will not be signing it, , I don't hear of teachers, doctors, paramedics having such drivel thrust on them - nurses need to stand up and be counted in a LOUD voice and stop this almost endless nurse bashing and let us get on with the job at hand.

    Oh and being able to shape policy, thats a jole, I have tried to voice my opinions7thoughts but there always seems to be some reason why these thoughts are not implemented, and all I'm speaking is common sense. After 20 + years of nursing I am getting tired, role on the nasty shock when the policy makers realise that they have just enticed many nurses into early retirement/career changes.

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  • Why is it seen as a pledge to restore trust in nurses?? Why not the whole bloddy NHS??
    Yet again nurses are seen to be the root of all problems with the NHS!
    For God's sake the government should allow us more staff, better pay and conditions, then we will be able to deal with the unrealistic expectations, targets and audits of some Whitehall wallys who have never had the pleasure of dealing with patients!
    Yes I think that nurses should be professional etc. and no-one could call me for being anything less. But again another statement that belittles the nurse and makes nursing unattractive as a career. Well done Prime Ministers Commision, you could have set nursing back years!!

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  • This makes me laugh!! It is the current government that have made the NHS target driven where quality is no longer in the driving seat. If you do not meet your targets then you are questioned by your manager - the fact that you had to take longer with a patient because they were distressed has no bearing. In a heated discussion a manager actually said that they are not interested in quality - meeting targets was more important to meet commissioners demands.

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  • Overworked and underpaid, unappreciated, not listened too. Expected to meet targets set by managers that have no comprehension of what it is we do on a daily basis, as they have either been away from the coalface for so long or worked in ASDA before their (eyes pointing upwards) calling...

    Nursing has changed and not for the better, too much emphasis on clinical knowledge than on empathy, compassion and caring. There are nurses on the wards that admit they only applied due to the bursary available and almost guarantee of employment. Perhaps that's were the manager more interested in targets than patient care quality's background lies.

    We are professional and if any of these so called managers were worth their salt. Stupid oaths would not be requested for service improvement, lets try a proven method of patient/ service user involvement at the coal face and for once listen to the people who we CARE for...

    Rant over...

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  • We write on this site and really does anybody from the government read these articles... if they did they would realise how unhappy we as nurses are, we are told we have to continue to develop so we do that, we now could be told to give a pledge what really is that going to do, Give us better wages, better conditions, more staff, and see better results, When will the governemnt realise they cant keep doing this to us, we have to stand up for ourselves because no one else will do it for us, we are a big group of professionals and could change things for ourselves, but as nuses we feel guilty and do think of our patients, please government please bring us in line with teachers, police etc, and have happier nurses

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  • Thank gods for al the above sane responses to this latest piece of patriarchal bullying..and incidentally lack of connection with reality and their (the govt) own policies.
    I don't work in the NHS anymore as a result of the govt drive to sell services down the river to private enterprise, not my choice. Presumably this pledge is not meant for me.
    The profession is no longer monastic and we are no longer required to be married to the job.
    There is no requirement by the medical profession to take the hippocratic oath anymore as the thrust of it was to 'first do no harm'
    Making grown and professionally trained adults make promises like good girls and boys will not engender trust or understanding in the public of what we do, what it will do is flag us up as first in the line of fire when things go wrong.
    When someone is throwing so many 'shoulds' at you beware.
    Telling people and requiring that they pledge not just allegience but provide actual results when they have little or no power to influence or have a realistic and active part in working toward those results is bullying. Especially when speaking up about substandard care leads directly to intimidation.

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  • From reading the feedback from nursing staff all over the country it is obvious that many feel they are being held accountable for the governments failings. I have been nursing since the sixties and can state with certainty that the wards have never been busier, the workload and responsibilities have never been greater and the workforce has never been smaller per patient than it is today. Patients have been given expectations that are virtually impossible to meet given these conditions and that is why there are so many complaints. Yes, all nurses should be compassionate and caring, expert and involved in shaping the healthcare of the future. However in reality many are so exhausted by the constant shortage of staff and resources, the heavy workload including paperwork and lack of gratitude, that they are regretting ever entering the caring services. How sad.

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  • I currenly spend more time gathering outcome measurements than giving patient care! mmm Go figure

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