Our This is Nursing initiative is being launched to show the public the impressive work that we do, says the RCN’s Peter Carter
We all understand the qualities expected of a nurse; they need to be caring, compassionate and highly skilled; they also need to be able to understand a patient’s condition, as well as the anxiety and apprehension they have in relation to their condition. Every week I travel around the UK and I meet countless nurses who strive to work to these principles, who work hard in an often difficult and complex profession. They certainly didn’t decide to become nurses because it was easy.
Too often, however, the general public sees only the negative politics and heavy pressures associated with nursing; our reputation is strong in many quarters, but there is no point denying that in others nursing is regularly under attack. It’s why the Royal College of Nursing is launching the This is Nursing initiative to show the public what we all know: that it takes a remarkable person to be a nurse.
“Our This is Nursing initiative will be launched to the public through a UK-wide bus advertising campaign”
Our This is Nursing initiative will be launched to the public through a UK-wide bus advertising campaign. We want to give members of the public the opportunity to see the impressive work that you do, to explore our new website, and to discover for themselves what an extraordinary profession nursing really is. Within the website there is a section called “24 hours of nursing”, which is designed to promote the diverse number of nursing roles. From a neonatal nurse to a healthcare assistant in a care home, from the frontline of Afghanistan to the frontline of A&E, it shows how nursing makes a massive difference to the lives of millions.
This is Nursing has seven work areas that represent some of the most important challenges facing the profession. These include professional attitudes and behaviours, where we will tackle how we can ensure patients receive a consistently good attitude from nursing staff. There’s also nurse leadership; exploring how we can inspire the profession’s future leaders. We will also explore the burden of unnecessary paperwork and seek to find a way to do away with this obstruction that nurses so often say hinders them in delivering care. How we can embed the RCN’s Principles of Nursing Practice is another of the seven areas. The principles make clear what quality nursing care looks like and can be used for quality improvement, sharing with patients and carers, and for professional development.
We will look at nurse education by investigating best practice from around the country. This work includes the independent Willis Commission on Nursing Education, which will publish its report later this year. We need to address the reasons why some students are prevented from getting the best preparation; it’s time we showed and proved what we can do to meet the considerable demands of the future.
Our HCAs require support too. This is Nursing will examine how we can improve the consistency and increase the level of training delivered to HCAs across the UK. Some parts of the country do it very well, but some barely do anything at all; this disparity is not good for patients or HCAs.
This is Nursing will also seek to tackle inadequate staffing levels and a diluted skill mix. Nurses need to be able to work with the right level of support around them - it’s a basic truth about modern nursing. Without the correct balance patients often do not get the care they deserve, particularly at busier moments such as meal times. We want to be at the forefront of getting this right.
Over the coming weeks, all health workers and members of the public will have opportunities to get involved with this work. I would urge you to go to the new website, explore the seven areas and find out more about This is Nursing.
Peter Carter is chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing