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'Intelligence and bravery wins awards'

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The media and the public seem to need telling constantly that nursing isn’t what they think it is.

It isn’t just changing bedpans and bandages – it’s about much more than that. Nursing takes brains and brilliance. Nursing can change how care is delivered, the way a patient feels and is cared for, and how well they recover.

That’s the message I will be delivering at the Nursing Times Awards 2015 this week at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The finalists and winners have developed skilful ways of improving the care, experience and outcomes of patients, residents and service users.

Check out and #NTAwards on Twitter to find out who walks away with our trophies.

”Yes, there are care failings, but these are mainly down to systemic failings: not enough nurses, not enough resources, not enough time”

To create an award-winning project takes intelligence and experience to come up with the solution to a problem, bravery to implement the plan, and resilience to sustain the idea. Nurses have all that in abundance. Oh, and in case it still needs mentioning, they have compassion, too. Otherwise they would never have bothered to introduce the idea in the first place.

So when we’re digesting yet another Care Quality Commission report about poor care or reading headlines about the next nursing scandal, we should not forget that nurses are doing amazing things to support and help the patient. Yes, there are care failings, but these are mainly down to systemic failings: not enough nurses, not enough resources, not enough time.

”Nurses don’t enter this profession to do a bad job”

Nurses don’t enter this profession to do a bad job. But they are pragmatists – they do the best they can with what they have.

An example of someone making a difference is the nurse at Plymouth Hospitals Trust who has saved her organisation hundreds of thousands of pounds through improved procurement. The story of Michelle Winfield – who wasn’t just buying bandages and bedpans, by the way – highlights what a difference this can make. She echoes the beliefs of Mandie Sunderland, chief nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, who has been driving the Small Changes, Big Difference campaign to engage nurses in procurement to make care safer and more efficient.

The evidence is clear – give nurses the opportunity to make changes and they will create a better, more patient-focused, more efficient service, with quality outcomes.

 Jenni Middleton, editor


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