Time to determine our own future?
Deborah Glover - Editor PCNR
BSc (Joint Hons), Dip. Care Policy & Management, RGN
I have to admit that I am not always backward in coming forward with an opinion if it is an issue about which I feel passionately. Indeed, I sometimes wonder if I am an exclamation mark short of being a member of the green ink brigade!
It all started when I worked as a health care assistant at a church-owned nursing home (not in the UK) aged 17. After reporting what I believed was inappropriate behaviour by another assistant, I was told by the matron of the home that while she agreed with me, she couldn’t take any action as the employee concerned donated a lot of money to the church and she didn’t want to cause a fuss. During my nurse training I sometimes locked horns with ward sisters when I challenged some arcane rule (‘no, student nurse Glover, talking to patients is not a worthwhile activity’). I did however, according to one very ‘old school’ scary sister, keep a very good sluice… As a staff nurse I felt that as my job was to look after patients, I had to challenge some decisions. And I did where appropriate.
Of course, I wasn’t always right. Sometimes I picked the wrong battle; I have more than likely upset a few people, and once I really put the cat amongst the pigeons (but with the result that a ward providing little or no help to students on their placement was no longer used).
Age I’m afraid, hasn’t mellowed me! If I feel something should be challenged - a 25% proposed increase in registration fees, or using my registration fee to pay someone £48,000 per annum for 2 days work for example, I will challenge it and urge others to do the same. And at the moment, I think nursing could do with a bit of a make-over. We’ve all felt the backlash of the Francis enquiry; and let’s be honest, national and local press need few reasons to knock their local heath care providers. And why on earth are we, as a profession, being given the 6Cs template – surely most nurses are already caring and compassionate. I wonder if such measures are created just to show someone, somewhere, something is being done.
But we should be the masters of how we are perceived by the public and other professions. I recently tweeted about a new public awareness campaign launched by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA). They are driving this because according to a 2012 poll, 83.5 per cent of Canadians believe RNs should deliver more health services. I suspect this would be true of most British people too – they still trust nurses!
The thrust of the campaign is to demonstrate how good their nurses are at caring and shaping services, they are showcasing, through video’s, ads etc, a small portion of their day-to-day reality, and the knowledge and skills RNs use in making their contributions to health-care. You can see exactly what they are doing here:
In my tweet, I suggested this is something UK nurses may wish to consider. So far, I’ve had a very positive response! Why don’t we make this summer the one where we organise ourselves into a cohesive voice and be the ones who determine our contribution before it is determined for us. Let me know your thoughts – firstname.lastname@example.org