The schools are back and parliament is back, so my inbox is suddenly overflowing with interesting reports, studies and releases affecting health and the profession.
I could, therefore, have chosen to write about many things in the news this week, such as public sector pay, winter pressures, sepsis and the national nursing shortage.
“I was really struck by how enthusiastic these nurses were to get their specialist area talked about”
Yes, you’ve guessed it, I’ve opted to write about something completely different – sparked by a meeting with a group of specialist nurses in Birmingham on Tuesday.
I was invited to give a presentation to the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses, explaining a bit about my job, Nursing Times and how the media, more broadly, operated.
We had a candid discussion about how a topic such as lung cancer could be a hard sell to national newspapers and broadcasters, and some past let-downs were highlighted where patients had agreed to tell their stories only to be dropped or not followed-up.
But I was really struck by how enthusiastic these nurses were to get their specialist area talked about and covered on news agendas, and their willingness to engage with journalists to try to help further patient care.
I came away from the event buoyed with confidence that they would soon be sending me some really interesting ideas for stories, best-practice articles and opinion pieces – or that we could work together on a joint survey or other data-based investigation.
They wanted to know how to “sell” their story to the media so that it was taken notice of, whether that be through a really well-tailored press release, a sharp and savvy social media drive or simply persistence on the phone.
By way of an example, I heard this week how a staff nurse at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust had suggested a cheap and simple change that could make a big different to care.
Thanks to Kate Ramsey, green cups are now being used to signify a drink containing soluble medication, to avoid it being tipped away by accident and to ensure nurses encourage patients to consume the whole amount. What a great idea and what a great story.
However, I don’t think I get told about these things often enough. Now, of course, it helps if you have the support of a network, trust or other organisation to push the message to the media, but this is not always necessary – sometimes a good story is just a good story.
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