As one year draws to a close, many people find it a time to reflect and consider resolutions for the new one starting.
As a profession, we can reflect on so much excellent care given at all times in all places and especially at this time of year, providing a lifeline in many senses of the word working across Christmas and New Year.
As a nurse leader I am proud and grateful for all that you do.
Among my reflections I have remembered two very simple things that people have said to me over time that seem as pertinent today as ever and which I thought I would share.
These two things came from one very young person and one very old. I was trying to describe to some young people the wider role of the nurse and about ‘prevention, protection and promotion’, and the response was, “so Miss, you mean you want nurses to stop people getting ill and stop people getting worse (as well as looking after people when they are sick)?”.
Our ability as a profession to do this depends on many things and reminds me of my second thing – my Nan, who lived a very long life, in answer to a question or challenge would often reply, “it’s all according…” – the sentence was never completed but the listener would mentally insert their own list of things that might influence the answer.
So as we move into the New Year do I want us to stop people getting ill and stop people getting worse? Yes, of course.
”So as we move into the New Year do I want us to stop people getting ill and stop people getting worse?”
The 5 Year Forward View (5YFV) sets out how we need to close the health and wellbeing gap by radical improvement in prevention and providing value for the population – as nurses we are vital to achieving this.
Will we succeed in maximising our professional value in prevention and population health? Well it’s all according.
It is according to our ability to build “capacity for population health” through developing as a “health promoting profession”:- building a culture of health, confidence to apply knowledge and skills in prevention and taking every opportunity whether working with patient’s communities and or public health. [see slide below].
”It is about providing the right support that accord with individual interpretation of health”
It also depends on understanding why health inequalities persist and that according to life circumstances and social factors, variations in health and access to health care are significant. It is about providing the right support that accord with individual interpretation of health, motivation and social opportunity to make changes.
So, perhaps as we move into the New Year we should consider a professional resolution for prevention “to stop people getting ill and stop people getting worse”.
And moving into 2016 will I be making a personal New Year’s resolution – yes, ‘it’s all according!’
Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse, Public Health England