A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how nurses tend to always be in the firing line - with the public only too eager to criticise the profession for anything from donning red tabards to daring to open a bottle of sauvignon blanc on a weekend off.
But they’re not the only ones doing nursing down - nurses are pretty good at that themselves. Now I know it’s not panto season, but I can hear you all booing and hissing from here. But only one look at nursingtimes.net reveals how much nurses like to engage in (ahem) heated debates - sometimes crossing the boundaries of respectful argument to hammer home a vitriolic point.
But it’s not just online, from behind the laptop shield, that nurses are inflicting harm to each other.
A senior nurse recently told me about a group of modern matrons who had been feeling ignored by their senior managers. Having made several suggestions to improve care, all of which had been rejected, they decided to put up and shut up, never again approaching their bosses with recommendations, in the process, creating a culture that deterred their staff from doing that too.
A key part of nurses’ jobs should be political awareness. Nurses need to understand the “business” of health, appreciating the politics at work within their organisation and honing their skills in influencing that machine to improve care.
Political influence isn’t just about arguing for pay and pensions - though those are vital issues - it is also about challenging practice and bringing an evidence base to support the case. And of course, possessing the skill to make employers listen to those arguments - and act on them. It may be hard to keep putting your head above the parapet and asking why, but it’s in the job description.
Chat live with the editor and other nurses about this issue at nursingtimes.net on Wednesday September 21 at 1pm.