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'Royal tribute to nurses gave real boost to awards'


Last week was one of the highlights of my career and I am guessing that of many nurses too. On Wednesday, we went to a lunchtime reception for Nursing Times Awards finalists at Clarence House hosted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

I had the privilege of introducing him to over 100 nurses. He talked to them about their roles and their work, and was fascinated to learn more about how they are improving care for patients and the pressures that they work under and challenges they face.

What he said to all of the finalists was that he wanted to give something back and say thank you for the hard work that they did.

The thrill they felt at being able to meet him was palpable and they were all genuinely excited about being able to tell him about nursing, and impressed by how much he knew and cared about the profession.

The awards are always a special event. But having that royal involvement elevated them this year. His Royal Highness gave the finalists a morale boost that cannot be captured in words.

Despite all the challenges and criticism that nursing faces, the awards continue to show that nurses are out there improving care to enhance the lives of their patients

The room felt energised. It was a moment to savour. Because despite all the challenges and criticism that nursing faces, the awards continue to show that nurses are out there improving care and innovating to enhance the lives of their patients. It is inspiring.

Robert Francis QC was our guest speaker for the evening. Interestingly enough, our directors of nursing survey results (see page 2) indicate that more than half of the nurses who replied felt that his seminal report on care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust would not have a long-term impact.

This is a huge worry, especially as around a third of them feel that they don’t have enough nurses to deliver good-quality care that is safe and delivers a good patient experience.

Francis needs to have an impact on the health service. All that work, all that forensic detail is all for nothing if we do not learn from it. As Francis told the Nursing Times Awards audience last week, we must find ways of making it really really difficult to deliver bad care.

It is not enough to read the Francis report and make a pledge to change. What the report requires is action. Nurses are all about taking action - the awards prove that. And although the care failings are not just about nursing, the profession can take a lead in showing the rest of the health service how to just get on - and change.

Jenni Middleton, editor Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed


Readers' comments (2)

  • Well, nurses would take 'action' if they weren't systematically culled, as in the news that 160 nursing posts are to be culled at Barts. Strangely, announced on the very same page that the tub thumping report appeared!

    Instead of head patting and platitudes from people who will never have to queue in a corridor for treatment, they should be campaigning for more nurses, not less.

    To me, the above is all fancy dressing for a very tiny sample of nurses; the vast majority are too busy trying to answer all the buzzers on wards at the same time, write all the notes up whilst trying to show patients relatives that they do care. Or trying to find non existent appointments for outpatients/practice nurse appointments/home visits by community nurses who often work hour unpaid to get their visits finished.

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  • Patients would be better served by a robust, united profession, prepared to stand up for their patients; not a bunch of spineless martyrs who like nothing better than endlessly listing all the things they do in a day (when will they stop?!) and simpering after an irrelevant, balding German.

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