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The 6Cs have 're-instilled common purpose' for nurses, says CNO


The national nursing strategy for England has “recharged pride”, following the spate of negative publicity that has been aimed at nurses in recent years, according to the chief nursing officer.

The CNO for England Jane Cummings said today that the profession retains the “admiration of many”, despite high profile care failings such as those at Mid Staffordshire Foundation trust and Winterbourne View.

She told a conference of more than 400 senior nurses that she has seen examples of “truly exceptional patient care” this year, where staff have “gone above and beyond the call of duty and made a real difference”.

However, Ms Cummings acknowledged that cases like Mid Staffordshire have “threatened patient confidence and challenged us all as professionals”.

During her speech to the annual CNO summit in Birmingham, she unveiled a report on progress made during the first year since the launch of the national nursing strategy Compassion in Practice.

The Compassion in Practice: One Year On report paints a positive picture of the strategy’s impact so far, using patient and staff stories and case studies.

The three-year plan, launched in December 2012, includes the “6Cs” – a set of values and behaviours that nurses and midwives are expected to aspire to. They are care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

The 6Cs have been widely embraced by nurses and midwives, according to Ms Cummings, who said they have become an “exciting social movement” at grassroots level.

She told delegates: “The aim was to get back to the very essence of what great care means for patients and how we can put far reaching changes in place that translate into real improvements.

“Over the last year I have witnessed a widescale, positive embrace of the 6Cs as a set of values; the likes of which I have never seen before. It has re-instilled a common purpose and recharged pride in the profession,” she said.

However, Ms Cummings added that a culture of support, openness and transparency is also needed in the NHS, where staff “feel free to speak out, to challenge incidents of poor care and take immediate action to put things right”.

She highlighted last week’s announcement of guidance requiring trusts to publish regular data on nurse staffing levels, which formed part of the government’s response to the Francis report and three other high profile reviews.

Ms Cummings stated: “We need to do more to ensure that we have the right teams of staff with the right skills to deliver the best possible care for each specific situation. The guidance puts a renewed focus on the responsibility that healthcare providers have in taking an evidence-based approach to staffing.”

She added: “Our profession is the admiration of many. We see people at their most vulnerable and we have a duty to always act with compassion for our patients and act with the courage to challenge anything that goes against this.

“Each one of us in the profession needs to ensure that we live by these principles each and every day,” she said. “I’m proud to be a nurse and I know that the vast majority of my fellow nurses, midwives and care staff have, and always will, deliver great care.”

As part of her keynote speech, Ms Cummings also announced a “call to action” for nurses to join the “6Cs Live!” social media network , which was launched earlier this year.

Compassion in Practice: One Year On

Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.


Readers' comments (25)

  • " Common Purpose" !

    Is this woman a member of " Common Purpose"

    Go here and make your own mind up !

    Pehaps Cummings could find a minute or two to explain why there are so many Trusts in "special measures" and why so many have been issued Warnings by the CQC?

    Crowing from her ivory tower about the 6 "C" nonsense does nothing to assist those attempting to provide care to patients within desperately understaffed wards/depts.

    The profession deserves a better leader than this politicians poodle

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  • "The 6Cs have been widely embraced by nurses and midwives, according to Ms Cummings, who will say they have become an “exciting social movement” at grassroots level."

    err....thats not the reactions that Nurses have been posting on the NT forums...

    Quite frankly, i'm embarrassed for Ms Cummings. Its true when we speak of Ivory towers, coz most Nurses and Midwives are allready doing and living the 6 Cs - we don't need to be patronised, implying that the 6Cs are a revelation to us and we should all try nursing using these new values...

    The 6Cs are a tool for managers and those high up, to try and make out a strategy or a new way of approach, as if its the little people/Nurses/Midwives who need to come up to their way of thinking.
    Most managers and those in positions of responsibility should remember to get back to Nursing values (which are actually things like care, compassion, etc...) and stay away from advertising media strategies like the all new 6Cs and stop using innocent, under experienced student Nurses (no disrespect) to tell the rest of the staff (who have worked their bollocks off to get here, under sh*te conditions, support, pay etc...) to get here.

    This 6C thing is pure politician speak.

    I'm all for promoting a better portrayal of Nursing and I do think that the image of Nursing has come a bit more positive but its not due to Nurses getting excited and driven about the 6Cs.

    'Call to action' for Nurses to get behind her 6Cs live??

    Commitment - how many Nurses have stuck this job out when the pay, hours, staff levels & support have been crap??

    Communication - stacks of paperwork, red tape, shite surveys, persecution for whistle blowing...

    Courage - what does this even mean!!!?? Stop making up reasons for this value to be in this list...

    need I go on? Sorry to bitch but yet again, this isn't a grass roots revolution - if it was, it would probably include strikes, unions getting tough and the government to start shaking!!

    6Cs my butt.

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  • tinkerbell

    Please don' do this Jane. It's not too late, you can change your mind before you get on the podium. Please tell me you have another speech up your sleeve that you're going to switch to at the last minute that tells it like it really is.

    You have - great!

    Phew what a relief! For a moment there I thought we were all doomed.

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  • Subtle!, who ever booked this evenings band.

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  • Mmmmmm, I mighty be wrong, but shelf stacking at Asda looks to be a more positive, forward thinking and rewarding experience.

    Among other perks they will actually pay you for hours worked.

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  • Rome's burning and this lot will be slapping each other on the back congratulating each other for a job well done. No wonder nursing is in crisis, no wonder the NHS is on its knees. It's absolutely sickening!

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  • NT invites discussion and debate on the majority of our articles. However, these need to be censored in a professional way and personal and offensive comments will be removed.<br/><br/>Please refer to section 3, part 2G of the terms and conditions:<br/>“You agree that in using the EMAP Materials you shall (except where otherwise agreed in writing with EMAP): not disseminate any material which is or may infringe the rights (including intellectual property rights) of any third party or be unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, indecent, offensive, pornographic, abusive, liable to incite racial hatred, discriminatory, menacing, scandalous, inflammatory, blasphemous, in breach of confidence, in breach of privacy, which may cause annoyance or inconvenience or may restrict or inhibit the use of the Website by any person or which constitutes or encourages conduct that may be considered a criminal offence or give rise to civil liability in any country in the world”<br/><br/>The full terms and conditions can be found here:<br/><br/>

  • Why does NT bother to invite discussion when they seem to delete any post that is even mildly abrasive.

    Like others have correctly identified: the CNO is absolutely deluded if she believes that the 6Cs have become "an exciting social movement" - only a true 'C' could be so out of touch with the what nurses and midwives actually believe!

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