The points I made last week about the lack of a senior voice standing up for the nursing profession seem to have created something of a storm on Twitter.
While the vast majority of people agreed with me, questions have been raised about whether the debate I initiated was “perpetuating a blame culture” and “dividing the profession”. This was not my intention – I was asking for public views on some of the key issues facing nursing in an attempt to find a way to unite the profession behind a strong leadership voice. There is so much to be said right now, but no one is saying it. Here are just a few questions of huge significance that have raised little, if any, comment from the top of the profession.
”There is so much to be said right now, but no one is saying it”
How will the profession survive if scrapping the bursary does have a negative impact on student nurse numbers? Is there a plan B if those in favour are wrong and the loss of the bursary does cut the number of people signing up for nurse training?
What is the plan to ensure ministers understand nursing issues and the profession can contribute to healthcare policy when the Department of Health’s nursing, midwifery and allied health profressions policy advisory unit is closed this autumn? What do nursing leaders think of NHS Improvement’s tightening grip on staffing, and its constant link to money?
”Nurses deserve to know what their leaders think”
How will we ensure the introduction and possible regulation of nursing associates really will improve patient care and isn’t just a way to save money? Who in nursing’s higher echelons is in favour of this role and why? And who thinks it should be regulated? What will it mean for registered nurses? And what is the plan for managing our workforce challenges in the wake of Brexit?
Nurses deserve to know what their leaders think and are doing to stand up against some of these attacks against them. They may be fighting the profession’s corner but we need to hear from them; beavering away quietly isn’t enough – nursing needs vocal support.
By calling for an end to the silence I was trying to galvanise the profession. What does nursing want? What does it need? Who is vocalising that? Can Nursing Times help make policy makers listen? We don’t have to keep our heads below the parapet – we can amplify the nursing voice. Nursing leaders should work with Nursing Times and see our strong, independent voice as something that can help the profession through these challenging times.