Next week will see the launch of a new campaign that will champion nurses and ensure the public understands the profession’s place as the lynchpins of care.
Nursing Now is a global campaign, run in partnership with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses, to ensure that nurses are recognised as “crucial” in managing 21st century health issues.
Nursing Now’s focus is to empower nurses – enabling them to influence care and giving them more recognition in keeping the world’s population healthy.
The campaign is due to be launched on 27 February, and although people in and around the profession have been talking about it for a few months, you may not have read much about it until after the Duchess of Cambridge’s involvement was revealed this week and inevitably picked up by the national press.
And that is probably why they so desperately need her on board – to highlight the issue and get it talked about. On that point, she has already proved her worth.
Something that raises the profession’s profile and status is much needed because even now nursing still suffers from the outdated perception that nurses are the handmaiden of doctors, whereas in fact they are making clinical decisions, diagnosing and prescribing – as well as providing great person-centred and holistic care.
Nurses have an influence that is not just making people better, but keeping people well. Their role in everything from rehabilitation to support to prevention is huge, and yet often a narrow view of nursing is presented in the media.
”A royal endorsement is useful for those who work as nurses, but insist that they are doing nothing special.”
If we can widen that perspective, and show nursing for all it is and all it does, the profession will have more status in the eyes of the media, public and the politicians – that’s my hope.
I realise that some in the profession might be a little sceptical about the duchess’ involvement – after all, doctors and lawyers don’t tend to have an ambassador. Why does nursing need one?
But in many ways, nursing hides its light, fails to make a fanfare and just gets on and does the work, and so can often be its own humble worst enemy. In that regard, a royal endorsement is useful for those who work as nurses, but insist that they are doing nothing special.
Our Nursing Times Awards have a category that is supported by HRH The Prince of Wales, and this royal support means so much to the nurses, not just in this category but anyone involved in all the awards. The HRH Prince of Wales Award for Integrated Approaches to Care is especially popular, and HRH has generously welcomed the awards finalists to his home at Clarence House on a couple of occasions to celebrate their success.
The nurses who have attended have loved sharing their stories with the Prince of Wales, and feel thrilled and honoured that their accomplishments are considered worthy of royal attention.
So, although for some it might be controversial to have royalty speak for a profession that should be able to articulate its value itself, I think this campaign’s approach is to be applauded in getting the duchess to be the champion of nurses.
If she can attract focus on a profession that is often underestimated and overlooked, and position it as vital to the future health landscape, that should only be welcomed.