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'Show the public what nursing is getting right'


Nursing has felt like it’s been under siege of late.

And according to some, the best way of showcasing the profession’s high standards, and the improvements it is making, is complete transparency about what exactly is going right – and what is going wrong.

Eight hospitals in the north west last week published their incidences of falls that resulted in moderate or severe harm to the patient and their numbers of grade 2, 3 and 4 pressure ulcers. It’s brave to put your head above the parapet and publish these figures every month. But Jane Cummings and the team at Energise for Excellence, which is encouraging all hospitals nationally to do the same, think it’s the only way to show that nursing is seriously committed to raising the standards of care. And it will not be data collection for data collection’s sake, the benchmarks will be published with a commentary so staff can provide insight into their figures.

The nurses involved have started asking patients at their hospitals a range of questions about their experience, which shows they have already engaged in constructive discussions about how to make improvements. Staff are also being asked whether they’d recommend their department as a place to work or be cared for.

There are, of course, caveats around blame but too often, nursing is on the back foot, and it’s time nurses proclaimed publicly what the majority is getting right. Only then can nurses correct the myths made about poor performance being the norm. Only then can the profession be honest about what it is going to do about such incidences and share best practice to see standards rise. Bravo to the north west, let’s hope more follow their lead.

Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed


Readers' comments (22)

  • here, here. Let's have some honesty either good or bad so that the bad things can be addressed and corrected and made better. Let's see where things are going wrong, lets see where things are going right. Let's applaud those who are getting it right and find out what we need to do to make sure we all get it right, be that from top management down to the frontline. Those who say it can't be done let's give a reasoned arguement and ACT on it for the sake of nursing and the sake of our patients. It is not enought to keep moaning on about why we can't do something, we need to take action to bring about change or sadily nurses will always be moaning but not doing anything about it as a collective body.

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  • Anonymous | 7-Mar-2012 10:24 am

    I agree.

    But, of course, you are being completely unrealistic. Nurses will NEVER take action.

    I and others here post frequently on what is required to improve the conditions and care of our patients and the lot of nurses. I challenge policy in my Trust and speak out for better methods and ideas to achieve better results, I lobby my MP and am active in several campaigns. I recently went on strike to preserve our right to a semi-decent pension and I was at the rally in Westminster last night.

    Now, let me tell you about nurses. As you have already gathered, they are very good at moaning. I have a theory that they actually enjoy it and take satisfaction in 'martyrdom'. Do you know how many bothered to turn up in Westminster last night? A few hundred, out of the hundreds of thousands of nurses in this country! On the recent day of action for public sector pensions, of the reluctant few nurses who bothered to strike, the vast majority didn't turn up on any picket lines or marches. No, they stayed at home or had a day out shopping instead. In the recent RCN Ballot about the NHS Reforms in England ONLY 16% bothered to cast their vote.

    So bring on the publishing of data. It will be skewed (not transparent), as all these things are, and nurses will be pushed to the front of the queue when the blame is doled out. But you know what? I no longer care. I think nurses deserve ALL that is coming to them. This is what they get when they moan, then sit on their backsides and do nothing about it.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 8-Mar-2012 8:15 pm

    Sadly i am left to totally agree with you. I was at the rally too yesterday, i have done all the other things, write to MP's, Lords, sign petitions etc., tried to rally my colleagues at work to come to the rally with me, went on my own. So basically am left thinking i am wasting my time with nurses ever taking any action. Like you I use to care but not anymore as far as trying to get some passion about it from my colleagues. I also agree that many nurses are good at moaning and whining but taking no action whatsoever. When i see an article on getting a new badge generate more passion than saving OUR NHS then i feel very pessimistic about some nurses concept of priorities. I will just go to work now and keep my mouth shut and leave them to it and it will never be mentioned again as i am the only one mentioning it and feel i am boring them all to tears. There's so many other things they seem to prefer to get animated about, what's on tv, who's who in celebrity land, a night out, some new shoes, dress etc., who am i to spoil their fun by banging on about a pivotal change to our society that is going to let loose the hounds of hell and impact on our society like no other change we have seen in the past 60 years. I just feel sorry for those minority nurses who are passionate about, have enough imagination and intelligence to see the impact of these changes for our future but are left without any back up from their colleagues to make a difference. United we stand, divided we fall and nursing is not united enough to make a difference. It will have to be others in the public sector and joe public who save OUR NHS because after this response from only a minority of passionate, intelligent nurses it will not the nursing profession as a whole.

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  • I understand where you are both coming from. I am a nurse and an activist and I have struggled for many years to get my colleagues to sand up and take action. However this is not a problem only with nursing - it is a problem with people. Its like that poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller
    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist
    Then they came for the Socialists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a trade unionist
    Then they came for the Jews
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Jew
    Then they came for me
    And there was no one left
    To speak out for me

    However it is not all bad. There has been a recent increase in people joining unions. And people are starting to question things more. Please don't give up - your efforts are brilliant. We have to at least keep fighting.

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  • If nurses refuse to become more politically savvy and active our profession will never advance or be taken seriously and we will never get anywhere near the glass ceiling to break through!

    How can people with so little understanding of the world expect to be accepted as mature and autonomous professionals in it. How can people who wish to be considered as professionals sit and discuss their favorite TV shows (which most likely does not even include news or documentary programmes), etc. when there are serious issues affecting their future and that of their profession and their patients at stake?

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 9-Mar-2012 11:50 am

    Well said. I'm all for a bit of fun and a laugh at work but lets keep our focus also on what is important right now to save OUR NHS from these thieves/vultures.

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 7-Mar-2012 10:24 am

    Spot on !

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 9-Mar-2012 11:50 am

    A minister for health who needs body guards and a police escort to walk through a hospital what does that tell him?

    You manky grey haired codger. You ought to be put in the tower and somebody throw away the key.

    Everything he says - it's called bullshit.

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  • tinkerbell | 9-Mar-2012 5:43 pm

    Well, if the ex-president of Switzerland got a Black Forest cream cake full in face the other evening when coming out of the Human Rights Film Festival in Geneva said she wouldn't be pressing charges against the guy who did it and there was no question of her having body guards in the future, what is Lansley's problem?

    In Switzerland it is part of the democratic process for the heads of state and ministers to move around freely as every other citizen without the need to be protected from them.

    In fact I saw this good lady and socialist MP standing looking around her thoroughly bemused in the middle of the floor of the Co-op when I was coming up the escalators one day and almost rubbed shoulders with her, literally. She had probably crossed the road from Parliament and was standing wondering what to get her husband for supper!

    I didn't like to stop and stare but was rather fascinated by this petite, trendy and chic VIP with a penchant for enormous handbags and is never seen on the telly without one - different one of course to match every outfit! Hopefully she doesn't carry state papers around in them, unlike some UK MPs in their brief cases! Somehow I doubt it!

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 9-Mar-2012 6:20 pm

    Get me a black forest gateau to go. No too good for him, get me custard pie, no too good, get me a mud pie.

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