The director of nursing at the Department of Health and Public Health England has argued that “a radical upgrade” is needed in prevention and public health.
Professor Viv Bennett suggested that “the time was never better” to deliver such a change and that a collaborative approach would make it possible.
“We as nurses… have a really important role in acting as the champions of public and population health”
“If we don’t all join together on this, we won’t have the money to do the things we want to do,” she told delegates.
“We have to, all of us, move from a sickness model, from a rescue model, to something which embraces health improvement, health promotion and health protection,” she said.
She continued: “We as nurses, because there are so many of us and we have trust from the public and
knowledge from health, have a really important role in acting as the champions of public and population health through making every contact count, through the things we do through working in local communities.”
Professor Bennett argued that the nursing leaders attending the CNO Summit in Manchester last week had a particular responsibility to promote public health and community nursing jobs as viable choices.
She said: “I still hear too many student nurses saying: ‘Eventually I’d like to go into the community, but I’m not allowed to at first’ or: ‘I think I’d like to work in a nursing home, but people tell me it’s a dead end first time job’.”
“So we have a responsibility if we’re going to change the way we work and where we work, to change the way people feel as they’re learning about the opportunities for careers that we have,” she added.