What Have the 6Cs Done for Us? (with apologies to Monty Python)

Editor's editorial

Deborah Glover - Editor PCNR

BSc (Joint Hons), Dip. Care Policy & Management, RGN

I never thought these words would be tapped out on my keyboard, but here goes...


I'm becoming a 6Cs supporter...

There, I've typed it. I've even spoken the words out loud (but then had to lie down in a darkened room with cucumber slices on my eyes and Peruvian nose-flute music playing in the background...).

Why has this been so hard to admit? I suppose mainly because I was outraged that words such as care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and committment needed to be bundled together to show nurses what was required of them to do their job! What was the world coming to when these qualities had to be vocalised rather than being an inherent part of what it was to be a nurse? While acknowledging that we are not perfect, I believed that such dimensions would be assessed when one applied to be a nurse. Of course, some, such as courage perhaps, are rather more difficult to ascertain at interview unless you ask them to walk on the hot coals conveniently placed at the back of the room. Competence perhaps difficult too. But compassion, communication and care should easily be evident.

But of course, we have failed in these domains - quite spectacularly in many instances. And this is why we need to be reminded of what we should be doing. But again, I railed against that justification. Why not review the processes involved in interviews to become a nurse? Why not modify the 'old-fashoned' hands-on training rather than continue to beat the 'a degree is best' drum? Why not ensure that employers see continuous professional development as a necessity rather than something that can be dropped in times of hardship? Why not ensure that there is enough appropriately qualified and expereinced staff available to meet the acuity and emotional needs of our patients? Why not ensure that the NMC deal with miscreants swiftly and effectively?

Clearly most of that did not happen, nor is it likely to in the near future. And if some of these issues are addressed, it's going to take some time.

So why have I begun to embrace the 6Cs? Quite simply because it is what patients want. Forget the NHS Charter (oh sorry, everyone has). If patients need to know that these domains are being hammered home to nurses (and indeed other health professionals), then so be it. They are after all, why we are here. So, I am climbing down from my high horse (16 hands) and supporting this concept.

Why not do the same?