Public and patient engagement needs to be given more recognition in nursing practice, a pioneering research project suggests.
Researchers from South Bank University studied the views of 15 senior nurses from four strategic health authority areas in England to produce what they say is the first report exploring public and patient involvement from a nursing perspective.
The need to give patients and the public better information and more control and influence over their healthcare was emphasised in Lord Darzi’s NHS next stage review, published last year.
The researchers found that although many nurses are performing activities such as consultations, audits and evaluations, they are not being recognised as public and patient engagement nor fed back and evidenced at senior level.
This lack of awareness of PPI and the negative attitudes of some nursing staff are hindering the process of developing evidence on which to base effective nursing practice in public and patient engagement, the researchers said.
The report suggests that educational facilities should offer PPI training to pre-registration nurses, and that strong leadership in nursing and commissioning should be facilitated in order to increase awareness of PPI among frontline nurses.
The RCN’s policy adviser and PPI lead Helen Caulfield said: “Nobody has really made the connection before that a lot of everyday nursing activities are PPI activities, so there is a significant under-reporting of PPI activity in nursing practice.
“Frontline nurses need to change their perception of PPI policy as a bureaucratic, paperwork based activity, and recognise that it is something they do every day,” she added.
The RCN is looking at ways to raise awareness of PPI among nurses, such as conferences, websites and the setting up of PPI nursing networks.