Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

CNO urges nurses to show their value, not just 'work harder'


Nurses and midwives must get better at demonstrating the “value” they bring instead of just focussing on working “harder” or “smarter” to become more efficient, the chief nursing officer for England has said.

In her keynote address at this year’s CNO summit, Jane Cummings noted that the “overwhelmed” nursing profession often reacted negatively when urged to work in a more efficient way.

“We’re not always good at demonstrating the value that we can bring. We need to do more about that”

Jane Cummings

Instead, she said nurses should recognise and show the importance of the way they deliver care – but also have the “courage” to cut out practices that did not benefit patients or the profession.

Speaking in Birmingham yesterday, Ms Cummings said: “We’ve talked about nurses and midwives being good at adapting and changing.

“We’re not always good at demonstrating the value that we can bring. We need to do more about that,” she told delegates.

She added: “We get lots of calls to work harder, to work smarter, to be more efficient and that often causes a mad reaction from people. They say ‘We can’t work any harder or faster. We are overwhelmed with work.’”

“So it’s about trying to step back from that and say why are you doing things that are adding value,” she said.

“We’ve had overwhelming consensus to keep the 6Cs [in the next nursing strategy for England]

Jane Cummings

Ms Cummings said it meant ensuring optimal care “day-in and day-out” and not just when health and care organisations were under scrutiny from regulators.

The CNO said her new strategy for the profession – which will follow on from the current Compassion in Practice strategy when it ends in March – would focus on the ways the nursing profession could add value to the profession, individuals and the population.

She said nurses needed to recognise that patient demand could be driven by clinical behaviours.

“We need to give the right information that gives the right approach for patients, so we don’t create confusion and service dependancy,” she said.

Ms Cummings also told delegates there was an “overwhelming consensus” to keep the “6Cs” in her new strategy.

Her original strategy, published in 2012, was best known for its focus on these six principles of nursing care – care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

“We’ve had overwhelming consensus to keep the 6Cs. There are some people who feel they have run their course but the vast majority have said ‘please keep it’,” she said.

“We’ve delivered an awful lot with [Compassion in Practice]. We need now something that is resilient, that looks to the future, that helps to equip us to deliver the right care for the right people at the right time,” she told the conference of senior nurse leaders.


Readers' comments (10)

  • It's challenging to prove your worth working within a hegemonic positivistic paradigm. The 6 Cs document is a tool of oppression to reinforce female stereotypes as caring and compassionate, once again positioning them outside the dominant paradigm and therefore of lesser value.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I agree fully with Anonymous above. If nursing were a male dominated profession they would not be bowing down meekly and accepting pay freezes and cuts in terms and conditions year in, year out. Female nurses are for the most part spineless and complacent, scared to create a fuss, so they are hardly likely to prove their worth to society. I just don't understand why more of us don't make a fuss about the diabolical working conditions we are expected to accept.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I was not at the Conference where Ms Cummings encouraged leaders of the NHS Nursing workforce to demonstrate the value they bring to the NHS, although I niavely thought that from a nursing perspective that this was being achieved and recognised by patients up and down the country, countless times each second, minute, every hour and day that nursing staff care for patients.around the clock in hospital and also in the community. Did Ms Cummings offer any practical help in how this could be achieved at individual, ward, department, divisional and hospital wide levels to make a POLITICAL IMPACT. How did she suggest that the profession "stands back" when the current workload offers little or no opportunity to do so at the front line. I am not being at all critical of the approach, but the profession needs clear practical direction so that we can influence key decision makers. Otherwise we will continue to be a vessel tossed at sea without a rudder and without direction. I wish all well at this festive time!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We know our value and so do our clients. We need to stop feeling guilty for wanting more from the system we are in. We are not collectively responsible for the condition of the NHS.What we need are stronger and more unified unions to fight for our worth in better pay and conditions. When the system cares properly for Nurses a greater capacity to care for others will be a natural consequence and the patronising rhetoric of the 6 Cs will no longer be necessary.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Who really listens to her?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Please help me with this. I know my value as a nurse working in a school but school staff appear to underestimate a nurse and think that any first aider can do the job. Hence fewer and fewer qualified nursing staff being emplyed by state schools and therefore other services used inappropriately or worse still young people not being advised to see GP soon enough with the correct information to tell the GP. How do we make a case for qualified nurses in school to do a nurses job and not be the lost property monitor/attendance officer/general run around, knowing that there is a cost implication?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • How on earth have I managed to work for 30 years without the 6 C's? Thank goodness I am now being shown the right direction; I just pity the thousands of patients I have cared for who have received less than caring, competent, compassionate, committed and courageous care and with whom I couldn't communicate effectively as I clearly hadn't seen the light!
    Could this article be more patronizing? I completely agree with comments 1 & 2. Nurses blindly accept this sort of drivel without standing up for themselves. Can anyone see Dr's being treated in this way and actually putting up with it, let alone adopting it as an ethos of care? I suggest she gets her backside down to a medical admissions unit on a weekend near Christmas, looks after 7 acutely ill patients on her own, for 12 hours and without a break. Here's a thought: how about showing the carers some compassion, have the courage to show support and start communicating with them as if they are adults!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I wholeheartedly agree with you all. Anyone who buys into it should be ashamed of themselves.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I am not sure how nurses can stand back and show/express these values that the CNO is calling us to do!!! I work hard, despite lack of a yearly payrise and in the face of a diminished work force on the ward. After 30 years in the profession this sounds like repetitive "caring" hyperbole speech from an ivory tower!! I await the next instalment and hope it mentions, who cares for the carers along the caring brickroad?!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nursing Times/Jennie Middleton
    I hope these comments have been fed back to Ms Cummings.
    She couldn't be more patronising and unhelpful if she tried.

    What we should be getting rid of is the copious amount of paperwork that she and her cronies in their ivory towers create in an effort to pacify the government and NHS England.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.