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'Many geniuses come in a nurse’s uniform'


There’s a rumour going around that innovative ideas and brilliance are the sole property of private businesses.

That this is a club that the public sector, and definitely NHS workers, are barred from.

But it doesn’t take a genius to spot that there are plenty of geniuses in the NHS, and many of them come in a nurse’s uniform. Closer than any other healthcare professional to the frontline of care, they see what works, what doesn’t and what is a tremendous failure that needs fixing right here and right now.

This week, my practice editor Ann Shuttleworth and I have been sitting in on the judging for some of the categories of the Patient Safety Awards. A joint initiative between Nursing Times and our sister title Health Service Journal, these awards are now in their second year. Sitting across 15 categories, they honour the people who have improved the most important measure of all - the safety of the people in their care.

I was delighted to see many nurses introducing projects to improve practice, and working hard to embed them. In fact, in the 24 Powerpoint presentations that I saw, all of them involved nurses to make sure they worked, and well over half of them were nurse initiated. They recognised the need, found a solution and told the story to convince their colleagues to take it on board. The results will be revealed on 9 March at the Hilton in London’s Park Lane.

Many of these ideas are sustainable because they are multidisciplinary. Nurses have managed to talk the language of doctors, consultants and even financial directors to get their buy-in.

And, if you are looking for inspiration to solve your challenges, head to the Healthcare Innovation Expo on 9 and 10 March at London’s ExCeL centre. I’m looking forward to hearing from those individuals who have identified a challenge and made the change to overcome it.

Healthcare is an exclusive club, but it’s one that gives you access all areas.


Readers' comments (2)

  • Philip Darbyshire

    Absolutely Jenni! Nurses have often railed against the idea of nursing as being any kind of 'business' (myself included). But we are in business: we're in the Transformation Business and the Making a Difference Business.

    If the business that we're being compared to is that of a bunch of unethical, avaricious shysters, then include me out.

    But imagine nursing being thought of as on a par with Apple for creativity and innovation or Pixar Studios for consistent quality and success or Ritz-carlton for peerless service or World Vision for clarity of social mission.

    I'll take some of that 'business mentality' for nursing any day of the week.

    Entrepreneurialism isn't just for the 'big end of town' it should be encouraged, enabled and supported in the public service sector as well.

    Health care is a multi-billion pound business and as nurses we have complained about its stifling bureaucratic constraints for as long as I can remember.

    Congratulations to the innovators and entrepreneurs you mentioned. When nurses grasp what this means for their practices and services, when we really 'get this', just watch us go....

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  • Unfortunately their peers can't vote for them to receive bonus payments for the innovative practice...

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