Emilia Clarke, the actor who plays Daenerys Targaryen in the hit series Game of Thrones, will “turn her fire” on the UK’s nursing shortage as she takes on a new ambassadorial role this month.
She will become the Royal College of Nursing’s ambassador, with a brief to support its work to raise the profile of the profession in the UK.
“We are delighted that nurses will benefit from such high-profile support”
Ms Clarke, who was born in London and grew up in Berkshire, has pledged to use her own profile to campaign for greater investment in nursing and to challenge misconceptions.
For example, she will use her personal social media to extend the reach of campaigns to promote the work of nurses, said the college.
She has already previously used her Instagram account – where she has 16.7 million followers – to support RCN campaigning efforts to end the government’s 1% cap on Agenda for Change pay rises.
“The vast majority of healthcare in our lifetime will come from nurses”
The RCN said its new ambassador would also join frontline nurses and healthcare workers to tackle the issues affecting the profession, including a falling number in training and workforce shortages.
In addition, she will help to raise funds to support professionals through the RCN Foundation charity, which makes grants to nurses in training or hardship.
Ms Clarke, best known for her role in HBO’s Game of Thrones, is also set to play a lead part in the new Star Wars film Solo, which premieres next month.
Ms Clarke said: “The vast majority of healthcare in our lifetime will come from nurses. Nevertheless, they too often fall victim to outdated ideas that leave fantastic nurses overlooked, under-appreciated and underpaid.
“Nurse are beginning to smash the old stereotypes and, for the first time, performing operations and running doctors’ surgeries,” she said. “Our NHS, and other health services around the world, simply could not function without them.
“Today’s nurses feel an easy target for cuts, not the priority for investment”
But Ms Clarke said that, in spite of the support they gave patients, nurses were not getting it in return.
“Today’s nurses feel an easy target for cuts, not the priority for investment,” she said. “Despite working round the clock, too many are forced to seek hardship support.
“Nurses who’ve dedicated their working life to mental health, school children or around our local communities are dropping dramatically and their expertise is lost,” said Ms Clarke.
She added: “I am fiercely proud of my new role as ambassador and vow to use it to champion nurses and their work. Together, we must attract young people into the profession, support them to innovate and become the powerful nurses of tomorrow.”
Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “We are delighted that nurses will benefit from such high-profile support.
“The Royal College of Nursing is proud to have Emilia Clarke’s help in fighting for nurses and raising the profile of their innovative work,” she added.