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'Badges can instil pride and raise care standards'


Why is it that everyone seems to know what nursing needs to get better?

From the prime minister to journalists, everyone has an opinion on how to fix nursing. Suddenly everyone is an expert – and their improvement strategies are definitely more stick than carrot.

What must it be like in the newsrooms of some tabloids? “Let’s have a go at nurses trying to concentrate on drug calculations, let’s moan that nurses are having lessons in how to care.” Even the positive stories are twisted into a verbal right hook.

But I just think there is another way. Standards would be raised if we set a benchmark and held it up to show others what they could achieve. And by rewarding and recognising excellence we’d be championing nurses in the profession, encouraging others to choose it as a career and restoring the public’s faith in nursing.

So three cheers then for the Heart of England Foundation Trust, already a Nursing Times Award winner in 2011, for doing exactly that. This week, the trust is launching its HEFT badges. They are awarded to nurses who have demonstrated professionalism and excellence in clinical standards and knowledge.

The trust will assess nurses’ knowledge on core clinical topics, and only after receiving 100% on those vital aspects of their role and demonstrating a commitment to the HEFT values do they get their badges. And I am sure when those nurses pin the badges on their uniforms they will flush with pride.

The old hospital badges always gave nurses a sense of belonging and a sense of pride. It’s more than the sum of its parts – the metal, the enamel and the pin – a badge of honour and achievement is something all nurses should be wearing.


Readers' comments (84)

  • I was pleased to receive the 2 badges I earned.

    But I have never worn either and never will.

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  • Thought it wasn't bad use of irony - then I realised - that's for real ? Will the other professions be clamouring for them too

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  • Everyone is an expert in nursing except the nurses themselves!

    I personally find this HEFT totally ridiculous and out of order. We are who we are and what we do and should be acknowledge for it without the need for badges. Nursing is not the military service and nurses should not be singled out. we all work and we are all paid. singling people out will simply lead to favouritism, bullying and ostracism and divide nurses, patients and other professionals even more. nurses who are not singled out for such a 'prize' will be less esteemed by their managers and everybody else.

    I am very proud of my two badges but I was awarded those in an entirely different era. their place is in a drawer to be cherished and not to be worn to be singled out from others or sent to the laundry to be lost and never replaced. people have to judge me for who I am and what I do not superficial adornment. Also my SRN badge is now obsolete and I suppose to everybody else completely meaningless.

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  • One word - McDonalds

    1 badge competent
    2 badges competent and confident
    3 badges the above and polite



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  • Anonymous | 28-Feb-2012 2:37 pm

    well said. and they are not professionals who have undertaken long years of study and CPD to qualify for a behind the counter job

    do you get an extra badge for smiling at customers?

    I will not be 'macdonaldized'!

    Actually, there's an idea
    Scientific and general management have been tried out in the NHS and failed

    How about now trying out McDonaldization? It might even work better than all the preceding systems and the government are always gain for experimentation with the NHS guinea pigs.

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  • What is wrong with you all....why is it so wrong to celebrate nursing...there is no singling out everyone can get a badge.....

    Nursing takes so much stick and criticism and something that comes along to celebrate what we do and thats wrong too...we can't win as nurses can we !!! anything that raises our profile and rightly demonstrates that we are great is surely good ....

    The debarcle that was 'confessions of a nurse' .... well that raised our profile publicly didnt it .... in a way that made me cringe within my profession....

    People confuse me.....

    Whats wrong with bringing back some old fashioned values of pride and professionalism ... god knows the patients we care for may actually feel reassured that nursing is instlling those values to provide excellence in patient care ....

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  • fleebe | 28-Feb-2012 3:31 pm

    "What is wrong with you all..."

    you could be asked the same question. it is a matter of personal opinion!

    The rights to freedom of speech has been raised on other NT pages so some of us are expressing our views just as you have rightfully done.

    You are welcome to display your badges if that is what you wish but don't expect everybody to want to do the same. Personally I prefer to see the focus on serious patient care rather than personal adornment to feed my own ego or to distinguish me from my colleagues as everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses and no one person is perfect in everything.

    Times have also moved on and I am not so sure it is any longer appropriate or desirable to bring back old fashioned ideas and values any more. We need to look to the future and be innovative and enthusiastic in finding new ways to fit the changing needs of the population and the availability of the resources we have in the 21st century which is a large enough challenge in itself without worrying about such trivialities.

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  • Anonymous | 28-Feb-2012 12:41 pm

    good pinch of salt needed with this one I reckon!

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  • I wasnt expressing at all that people havent the right to freedom of speech, just that why is it so wrong to celebrate our profession...and why cant pride and professionalism bring about innovation....having values doesnt degrade our profession but enhances it...

    Knowing the inherent failures in our current model of nurse training...then I would suggest that this trust is indeed being enthusiastic and innovative in finding news ways to meet the changing needs of the population and resources required within the 21st century...

    This project is actually aiming to cut the mindless paperwork and endless demands of useless competencies that frame the way the NHS currently works....

    Having values...doesnt mean the service is old fashioned.....

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  • Where is this feeding ego's......making sure your workforce know there stuff......every nurse within this organisation will be able to demonstrate evidence based knowledge applied to quality care....that isnt feeding ego's but actually attempting to ensure that all nurses within this organisation provide safe care....isnt that what we all want? ....

    Can you honestly say that you think all nurses within all organisations have the knowledge and skills to want them to care for the most precious people in your life .... which is the standards by which I assess and sign off new nurses (along with the NMC standards of course !) .....

    Having frameworks and regular reassurance of this which is where nursing and medicine is going for revalidation .... (which has only been required since the drop in standards in the quality of education)...

    I for one would be reassured ..... be that as a patient / relative and indeed a nurse ....

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