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NHS England to rollout '6Cs' nursing values to all health service staff


Hospital porters, caterers, doctors and trust chief executives will be asked to embrace the “6Cs,” under plans to extend the set of core nursing values to all staff working in the NHS in England, Nursing Times can reveal.

The principles, which form the bedrock of the Compassion in Practice national nursing strategy, are to be rolled out to everyone in the NHS from July, one of England’s most senior nurses has told Nursing Times.

NHS England said the move was in response to demand from other professions, and came on the back of the “phenomenal success” of the initiative within nursing.

“Nurses have shown real leadership”

Juliet Beal

The 6Cs – care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment and competence – are a central plank of Compassion in Practice, which was drawn up by NHS England chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and launched in December 2012.

“In the last 15 months or so the 6Cs and those values and behaviours have started to inspire other professions across the NHS – and not just clinical professions,” said Juliet Beal, NHS England’s director of nursing: quality improvement and care.

Juliet Beal

Juliet Beal

“The rollout is for everybody who works in the NHS, from a ward clerk or porter to frontline staff, consultants and chief executives. It really is aimed at everyone.”

She said nurses and midwives should be “incredibly proud” to be at the forefront of what she described as an “amazing social movement”.

“Nurses have shown real leadership,” she said. “And that’s not about the central team that has been working on it, but nurses and midwives on the ground, at the frontline, who have inspired others.”

Ms Beal said there had been a “huge amount of interest” in the 6Cs and she and her colleagues had already given presentations across the country to diverse groups, including healthcare scientists, hospital caterers, allied health professions, doctors, and chief executives.

“Nurses and midwives often ask why doesn’t this apply to doctors and allied health professions”

Juliet Beal

She said applying the values to the whole of the service was about “creating the right culture to provide really excellent care”. “Even if you’re working in finance you still need a set of values for working in that care setting,” Ms Beal added.

Questioned whether she feared that extending the initiative to all NHS workers would remove ownership of the scheme from nurses, and risked diluting the message, she said: “I don’t think that is a risk.

“The 6Cs are well embedded and often nurses and midwives ask ‘Why doesn’t this apply to doctors, allied health professions?’. They think the same values and behaviours should apply to all people across the NHS,” she said. “That’s the feeling I have got.”

Ms Beal said a key to the nursing strategy’s success was that its six core values had been underpinned by a framework setting out various action points at local and national level, which were backed by the Department of Health, Public Health England, Health Education England, regulators, employers and nursing unions.

This includes commitments specific to nursing, which cover staffing levels, support for nurses, leadership within the profession and ways to measure and monitor quality care.

Ms Beal said that, while the 6Cs would stay the same, the support framework may well be different for different professions.

“People will need to develop those values in a way that’s relevant to the place they work in,” she said. “It’s not something we’re going to be imposing on people to do in a certain way.”

The national rollout will begin with an event in London on 4 July, which will be called The 6Cs for Everyone – Let’s Start the Conversation. This will be followed by four regional events.

“The most important thing is for everybody to get engaged in this”

Juliet Beal

Ms Beal said her team at NHS England was working closely with the NHS Clinical Leaders Network – a national network for practicing clinicians in England – to look at ways of engaging different healthcare professions. Meanwhile, the 6Cs Live! website will be developed to make it relevant to other staff groups.

Ms Beal said nurses and midwives would be key in spreading the word about the 6Cs to other staffing groups. “They can start to get other professions involved in what they’re doing at ward level and trust level,” she said.

“The most important thing is for everybody to get engaged in this, talk about it locally in team meetings, and in particular in multi-disciplinary teams in trusts or clinical commissioning groups,” she told Nursing Times.


Readers' comments (44)

  • Any nurse whom needs reminding if the six Cs should be struck off. Sorry. Insulting to all caring nurses.

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  • sorry, we are closed. just ran out of 'Six C's' due to an unexpectedly heavy demand! please come back next week when we hope to have replenished our stock and we look forward to being in a position of assuring you once again of our very best service!

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  • Nurses should set their core values on caring and being compassionate and if they feel they can no longer fulfill this definition its time they had a different career!
    These core values were set in Florence Nightingales time and should still be the principal reason for chosing nursing as a career! Nothing new just lets get back to basics!!!

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  • I so agree with the comments regarding putting words/slogans into practice. I'm saddened and disappointed for the families and friends of us in the profession who have been let down by our organisations. When it happened to me it made me feel ashamed of my profession.
    The values I hold and demonstrate are ingrained in me. I treat all people with the same level of respect and dignity. I do not need to learn a script by rote.
    I would expect this to be the same of everyone recruited into the NHS, however, we all know this has not happened and no matter what strap lines, anagrams or buzz words are 'on trend', all the NHS needs to put things back on an even keel is to invest in the right kind of staff in the right areas. Let's re-build our culture within the NHS. E.g., Look at the skills & valuable experience of the staff we have before looking to recruit outside and also stop escalating those who say the right things at interview but really cannot do the job but 'look good' on the back of others! These issues are a common cause of ineffective leadership which will make the 6 very sick indeed :-)

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  • a lot of money and time must be wasted on side tracking with so many silly little projects instead of focusing on the real issues of caring for patients.

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  • There is one that seems missing in many roles within the health service and other sectors. COMMONSENSE. We are ruled by so many people that have forgotten what it is like to work at ground level within the NHS.

    When they are sat in their offices making up all these slogan and ideologies, they forget we are all individual and think on different wave lengths. My idea of commitment for example is different from yours.

    What happens when one day someone says oh but you didn't tell me about "(ie) commitment" so I didn't think I needed it.

    In every sector of Health care if you can't give, compassion, commitment, care etc, then do another job.

    It is still a vocation, not just a wage.

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  • How long did it take a CNO to think up 6 words beginning with C? What a bloody joke nursing is becoming.

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  • Lol me thinks many might think the chocolate wheeled sick Cs' when the big boys roll out stuff like this: 1. Contempt 2. Confusion 3. Corrupt 4. Callous 5. Corporate Clowns 6. Cheesy.

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  • These Sick Cs are not new and are not Cummons idea as we have all been led to believe. The come from leadership of theory.

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  • When are we going to get to respond directly to comments and signal our agreement with voting system? Until then, where we can have meaningful debate, this website is an entire waste of time and waste of space!

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