Increasingly, we are observing the nursing role being misunderstood and diminished.
When the prime minister or the health secretary declare that nursing should be about getting back to its roots, about hands-on care and to dispense with the paperwork - how does that make nurse managers feel?
These managers are nurses too, and yet unless they are actually washing a patient or giving out drugs, they are not regarded as such by the wider public, or the government so it seems.
Good nursing requires good leadership and management, and that requires a degree of planning. And that means spending time with a computer as well as a catheter.
If nurses think about their next move and it is upward or more deskbound, they are seen as “bad” because the perception is that they will be doing less patient care and are shunning the very essence of nursing, the core of their job. Nursing is a lot more complex than that.
Nurses say that they choose to enter the profession to make a difference - to patients, to carers and to relatives. The communication skills, the attention to detail, the empathy and compassion don’t go away. And nurse managers and leaders can impart their unique brand of those skills to a wider group of staff if they take a management role.
It’s time we gave all nurses a break. And enabled them to have careers, to diversify and to make choices that suit their skillset best. In what other profession is it considered that promotion and progression diminishes you? It does not make you less of a nurse.
One of the things that is appealing about nursing is the diversity it offers - yes the chance to spend time looking after patients, but also to specialise in a clinical area, to go into research, to work in academia, to work in primary care, independently in the community or on an acute hospital ward to help treat physical and mental wellbeing. And indeed, to work in management.
Everyone should celebrate all that nursing is and not just accept the somewhat restricted perception of it which is portrayed in the media.
Denying nurses a chance to assume other roles will just deter people from entering the profession, or send those who have the skills already into the arms of another career.
Nursing doesn’t need to get back to its roots - it needs to flourish, and show off its beauty and all that it can be. Only then will it become attractive to those who are considering it as a career, and will be better understood by the wider public.