More patients than ever say the care they receive from nurses is compassionate but there is more work to do to make the 6Cs truly universal values, England’s chief nursing officer has said.
In her keynote address to the CNO Summit in Manchester last week, Jane Cummings said she felt “there was an awful lot to be positive about” as she reflected on the two years since the launch of the national nursing strategy Compassion in Practice.
“I still hear people say: ‘I had great care, and I was lucky’. I want to say: ‘You’re not lucky, you should get all the time every time’”
She revealed that when she goes out and meets patients, the feedback she hears about the care they have received is “overwhelmingly positive”.
“What patients talk to me about mainly is that they are grateful for the care that they’re given,” Ms Cummings told an audience made up of hundreds of nursing leaders from across the country.
“They say that they are respectful of the staff who are looking after them, and of their competence and compassion,” she said.
“But they also talk about their expectations. I still hear people say: ‘I had great care, and I was lucky’ and actually I want to say: ‘You’re not lucky, that’s what you should get all the time every time,’” she stated..
Ms Cummings said she felt there was evidence that the launch of the 6Cs – care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment – was contributing to that sort of consistency.
“The 6Cs has given us a narrative that everybody understands, that everybody signs up to”
She specifically pointed to survey data from Ipsos MORI indicating an increase in the number of patients saying they were treated with compassion when using the NHS.
“The first poll was done six months after the Compassion in Practice launch,” she explained. “At that point, 64% of people said they were treated with compassion.
“Six months later, Ipsos MORI did a further review and that had gone up to 72%,” she said. “So we can see an early upward trend; we can see that people are saying they feel they’re being treated with compassion.”
She pointed out that still meant, however, that still meant there was a significant minority of patients who did not feel the care they received had been compassionate. “And of course when we treat a million patient every 36 hours, that’s an awful lot of individuals,” she noted.
Ms Cummings also cautioned that such data can exclude the opinions of more vulnerable individuals. “It’s really crucial that we listen and respond to those people that are most vulnerable,” she argued.
“Quite often the work we do, the surveys we do, the discussion groups we have are often held with those that maybe find it easier to answer surveys, who feel more confident about going and talking in focus groups,” she told delegates.
“When we talk about the experience of our patients, we shouldn’t forgot those who are more vulnerable,” she added.
Nonetheless, she argued that progress on defining what it means to deliver good nursing care has been significant.
“Two years ago we were in a very different place,” she said. “The 6Cs has given us a narrative that everybody understands, that everybody signs up to.”
She added: “It’s really reinforced what it is we have always done, what we continue to do, and what we always must do.”