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EDITOR’S COMMENT

'Nursing matters and we’re here to fight for you'

  • 24 Comments

We do like the Hilton Park Lane’s cooking but that wasn’t the reason the team and I headed to the hotel last Tuesday – for a second night in less than a week.

After spending the evening of November 2 there for the Nursing Times Awards, practice and learning editor Ann Shuttleworth, group online editor Rachel Purkett and I returned for the British Society of Magazine Editors’ Awards.

Shortlisted for our A Seat on the Board campaign to get nurses recognition in clinical commissioning, we were up against some tough competition. There were magazines doing all manner of worthy things – including encouraging readers to donate their bras to women in African villages, saving dogs from dying in hot cars, regenerating town centres and preventing homelessness.

But I am delighted to say the Nursing Times entry scooped victory with what the judges described as a campaign that really mattered.

That proves a couple of things – first: that nursing is high on the agenda of those scrutinising the press. Despite the media hype, the public do care about nurses and their voice. Second: that journalism can still bring about changes, which makes me proud.

Nursing Times has a long pedigree of campaigning to change things for the better for its readers. We’re delighted to continue doing that – and so this award is for all editorial teams – past and present – of Nursing Times, for representing this profession. And it’s also for all of you – it proves our commitment to working as your ambassador, and our unswerving desire to always stand up for you and the work you do. You give us a cause worth fighting for. So this award isn’t just for us (though we have celebrated with a lot of cake), it’s for all of you. Well done.

Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed

EDITOR DIRECT

Chat live with the editor and other nurses at nursingtimes.net every Wednesday at 1pm about this column.

 

 

  • 24 Comments

Readers' comments (24)

  • I wouldn't say it had a long pedigree, Jenni, but it has been getting better. I think there is SO much more you can do though, so much more.

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  • Jenni Middleton

    Mike - I am all ears. You can always send us ideas of what you'd like us to campaign for. I have actually been pitching some stories about excellent nursing to a TV company today. After Daybreak came to the NT Awards to profile nursing, I have decided that the media will write positive stories about nursing - and we have plenty to provide here as we are always coming across clever, brilliant nurses working under enormous pressure with amazing compassion. So that is my new obsession - making sure the public find out about great nursing.

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  • Jenni, absolutely outstanding! I take back what I said about doing more!! It is nice to hear that, because that is what is needed right now! A public campaign FOR Nurses, to counteract all the Nurse bashing that is going on at the moment! Could you tell me more about what is being done? What media is being utilised? How? Maybe in a series of articles? Perhaps we could help? I was actually going to suggest could you perhaps contribute to a national media campaign to both celebrate Nursing and also educate the public to exactly what we do and what we are (a highly educated, highly skilled autonomous profession). I think what is needed are campaigns based around different issues, partly to dispel the archaic 'carry on' perceptions of us, and this does have an effect on our professional image and the care we can give. Nurse led services for example are vastly underused partly because of this perception and many people who 'want a real Doctor's opinion'. But also, there is so much that can be done here to make the public realise the pressures we face as a profession and how important we are to their care. Just look at what the Australian ANF has released for example (courtesy of Yvonne), type in A World Without Nurses Ausmed Education on you tube.

    Campaigns like this can make the public realise that the failings of the NHS aren't all down to 'bad Nursing care', it is down to staffing levels, poor working practices, bad organisational cultures, etc etc. And they can start to turn their anger toward the trusts and the government instead of always blaming Nurses, start blaming those REALLY responsible for not putting enough qualified staff on the wards and so on. Perhaps that way we can affect some real change.

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  • Also Jenni, can I ask are there any campaigns in the offing to support Nurses who take strike action over pensions? Or what about fighting our corner in the debacle of the commissioning consortium's?

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  • michael stone

    'Or what about fighting our corner in the debacle of the commissioning consortium's?'

    Your 'Seat on the Board' campaign was not a victory, as the Goverment wriggled off the hook with an ongoing fudge !

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  • Jenni Middleton

    Mike - I am going to email you separately because it's a long winded answer!

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  • Thanks for the email Jenni, much appreciated.

    Michael, I agree the seat on the board campaign was a failure, and was annoyed at how it fizzled out when it should have been gaining momentum. BUT, saying that, in hindsight at least it was SOMETHING, because we certainly didn't get any help or support from our so called union or professional body! And used again for a number of different campaigns, lets say safe staffing levels and skill mix for example or fair pay and pensions, then I believe that a campaign such as that can really make a difference if it just picked up more momentum and had more weight behind it. But we need something like this website/magazine to act as a focus, a rallying cry if you like, so that Nurses can make their voice heard much more clearly as a whole, rather than individually banging our heads against the wall.

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  • michael stone

    mike | 17-Nov-2011 9:57 am

    The problem is, as usual, one of perception.

    Does a fizzled out campaign, convince the badly-informed that the campaign was successful ? If so, it is probably worse than useless !

    As for 'But we need something like this website/magazine to act as a focus' then I am all for open discussion of almost anything - some sort of 'electronic all-comers welcome discussion forum' for complaints and concerns (in hospitals, etc) would also, in my opinion, be very helpful.

    I do think - as it happens - that the RCN is actually more aligned to your views, than you believe - but I think the RCN only 'really pushes' for things it thinks might be obtainable (otherwise, it would simply be confrontational, almost all of the time).

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  • michael stone

    mike | 15-Nov-2011 2:07 pm

    I tend to agree.

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  • I hope the campaign for a more positive image of nursing will help to counteract the current bad attitude a lot of the public seem to have adopted at the moment to wards anyone working in the public services. Honestly in my 23 year career i have never before known such a lack of respect and such ingratitude. I do believe the media should take a lot of the blame for that, but are the majority of the public really so stupid as to believe it all?

    I belong to a social network site called Netmums, and the bitterness, resentment and sheer vitriol directed at public sector workers on there is frightening.
    The general concensus seems to be that we are selfish greedy and hell bent on bleeding the taxpayers dry, and yes they are more than happy to include nurses in that!
    And this from a sit where the vast majority of members are woman.

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