I was lucky enough to be one of the Nursing Times team who went to Clarence House last week to a reception for finalists of the Nursing Times Awards, which was hosted by HRH the Prince of Wales – who has also written of his support in Nursing Times. It was a lovely event, and great to see the reactions of the finalists – both as they waited to speak to Prince Charles and afterwards.
While delighted to have been given this opportunity, most were apprehensive before they spoke to the Prince, but all those I spoke to afterwards were elated. He had put them completely at ease, taken a genuine interest in their award entries and made clear how much he valued them and the work they do.
The Nursing Times Awards are always a wonderful celebration of the very best the profession has to offer, but it was great to see our finalists receive the additional boost of public support from such an important source. And what’s more, the event was reported by the national press – and even those who often seem determined to characterise the entire nursing profession as cold, callous and heartless were unable to put a negative spin on this story.
After such a difficult year nurses need powerful friends, who have the clout to remind the nation that the vast majority of you go the extra mile - and more - to ensure your patients are safe and well cared for. Let’s hope the message sent out by Prince Charles sticks and that you cease to be the first port of call for people looking for scapegoats every time the NHS experiences problems.