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'It’s time to shout about the talents of nurses'


Bravo to the Royal College of Nursing’s This is Nursing campaign, coming soon to a bus near you.

The RCN’s vision is to emblazon the nation’s public transport systems with images and messages that communicate just how important, talented and special the profession really is. The advertisements will signpost the public to its website, which will further reinforce these ideas.

The effect may be to encourage more people into nursing as well as to ensure the public have the right idea about what it takes to be a nurse and the skills and knowledge required.

I was recently talking about the Nursing Times Awards to someone who had nothing to do with the profession. They seemed shocked that we invite nurses into our offices to present their project ideas to the judges. They thought it was “mean” of us - believing nurses to be timid creatures, only allowed out in daylight to dutifully follow the instructions of doctors or change a bedsheet.

Let’s not pretend that view is uncommon. Nurses do change sheets, clean patients’ mouths, feed those unable to lift a knife and fork, and hold the hands of patients and just listen. Those are vital nursing skills. But they are not the only things that define nursing.

Nurses can work in academia, they can educate the next generation of nurses. Nurses can work in research and find evidence to improve patient safety, experience and care. Nurses can run their own clinics, prescribe medicines, make their own clinical decisions and yes, speak out on behalf of the patient or carer - even if it means they disagree with doctors about the best course of action.

Nursing is a precious vocation. It’s time the shining talents of nurses were shouted about, instead of hidden in the background while the media launches another frenzied attack on nursing staff.

The This is Nursing fi lm was fi rst played at the RCN Congress in May. Its theme tune became the call back into the congress room at the start of sessions, and created a few lumps in the throats of even the most well-seasoned congress goers, according to nurse tweeters.

Amid all the difficulty and challenge, it reminds nurses of what is great about their career choice and the opportunities it offers to make a real difference. Now it needs to have the same effect on the public - recreating a sense of pride in and respect for the profession, and challenging media suggestions that the entire profession has lost its way.

Check out the video below.

Source: YouTube (RCN)

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Readers' comments (7)

  • How about a campaign telling the government and the public how fed up, pushed to the brink, underesourced, overstretched and undervalued we are?

    That video was a mess. It barely showed anything of what it was like to be a nurse. Especially if someone outside of the profession saw it. It showed none of the highly skilled clinical tasks we perform, none of the life saving interventions, nothing. Brief glimpses, if that. It certainly will not change public perceptions that we are simple HCAs with no skills, qualifications or meaning beyond doing what a doctor says and wiping the occassional brow or making a bed. Remember the police campaign a few years back? I think they called it 'could you' or something along those lines. That would have been more effective.

    "Could you remain calm, compassionate and empathetic toward a violent, abusive patient after a stressful 24 hour shift?"

    "Could you work in unmanageable, unsafe conditions and still perform at a standard that is expected of four times your number?"

    "Could you handle the emotional rollercoaster, the stress, the heartache and sometimes even the bereavement of treating a patient? Could you then do that for 18 patients every single shift?"

    "Do you have the intelligence or academic skill it takes to perform at a professional standard?"

    "Could you be an advocate for someone who is sick or dying when they have noone else there to help them?"

    Nurses do.

    Just a few off the top of my head. There are hundreds more I'm sure.

    Or how about some simple banner headlines stating some very simple facts.

    "We ARE a highly skilled, highly qualified workforce." or ...

    "Appreciate us. Because you'll miss us if we are not there."

    With many nurses I know leaving the country to nurse elsewhere or getting out of the profession entirely, the latter may not be too far from the truth.

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  • I love this video - it made me smile and brought a tear to my eye. It showed real passion and pride and what our role should be - care, compassion and expertise

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  • Teresa, seriously? I thought the video was horribly shot! It could have been a lot better.

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  • Yes seriously ! I thought that the way it was shot was not glossy or airbrushed but a real snapshot of real nursing ... I guess it comes down to personal taste. However it is never the less admirable that the RCN are promoting nursing, as Jenni says "Bravo!"

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  • Teresa, I guess it is down to taste. Fair point. I did like the non glossy or non airbrushed aspect to it, I just think it should have shown nursing expertise, skill, qualification and education in action a bit more, after all the whole point is to change our image in the public eye.

    Whilst I agree it is good that nursing is being celebrated and promoted, I just think it could be done better, and on a larger scale too.

    Our profession has come under a blitzkrieg of critiscism, attacks and abuse in recent years, and it has left many of us disillusioned, battered and utterly beaten. There are large numbers of British nurses emigrating. Many have left the profession completely and are glad to be out of it, myself included. With a huge chunk of the workforce about to retire (or doing so now), and less and less people to fill those gaps, those left are in an impossible situation.

    So like I said, yes this promotion is a good thing, but is it far too little, far too late? I certainly think so. Will it change public perception of nurses? I doubt it. It just doesn't go far enough.

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  • What a load of rubbish! Nice to see nurses waddling around, cleaning and smilingly delivering cups of tea. How about the fact that we are the first people at an emergency- those that make a quick judgement call and take the necessary actions- the complex infusions we calculate and administer? the high tech machines we deal with all day? (which no one else knows how to use)

    I hope that the general public never see this Walt Disney esc piece of crap.
    No wonder no one regards us as anything other than doctors skivvys!

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  • The extended role and multi tasking of the nurse which takes place almost on a daily basis¸ taken for granted by most.

    In the rare event that any nurse lacks any of these skills they are well advised to develop them as soon as possible.

    I seem to have done most of them in the course of my working week (well, with a tiny stretch of the imagination!)

    A – administrator, angel
    B – bed maker , bed pan washer, bouncer, bed warmer (well hopefully not quite!)
    C – confidant, clerk, communicator, computer operator, cleaner, cook, clown, compassion personified!
    D – drug administrator, detective, dancer
    E – executive, educator, electrician
    F – facilitator, and even football player on occasion
    G – gardener (MH services)
    H - hotelier
    I – inquisitor, investigator
    J – justice of the peace, judge
    K – karate expert, kitchen maid
    L – laundry maid, loo cleaner, lie detector
    M – mother, moderator, matron, maid, mentor, moderator, multitasker, mystic, magistrate (not really)
    N – nanny, nurse maid, nurse on occasion!
    O – ophthalmology specialist
    P – porter frequently, physio quite frequently, plumber quite often! ? Primadonna – not very often!
    Q – quiz master
    R – rugby player scrum half (with managers, colleagues, doctors, visitors and very rarely patients!)
    S – secretary, servant, singer (Christmas time), sister acting up occasionally,
    T – tea lady, telephonist
    U – umpire/adjudicator
    V – visionary
    W – well-wisher, whistleblower, waitress, witness (only informally on the ward thank goodness)
    X – xenologist, possessor of x-ray eyes, xerophytes (plant requiring very little water as you can never get to the loo!)
    Y – YES WO/MAN
    Z – Zimmer pusher – well almost for some! ? Zombie perhaps some of the time when totally overwhelmed by A to Z! zapper, zookeeper ? (definitely NOT)!

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