As the general election looms large, attention will be given to issues within healthcare. Everyone will have an opinion, and as news this week identified that there are now more managers in the NHS than ever before I guess all the political parties will be letting us know how they plan to review, reform and rebuild the NHS.
I still wonder how much attention is paid to the experiences and views of experienced and expert nurses. I attended a play on Saturday that was about a woman's experiences of medical encounters and healthcare. Much attention was paid to how medical students might respond to this production and I had to sit quietly listening to it. Yet again, nursing and nurses seemed to be invisible. Medicine and healthcare appear to be the same thing in many people's views, and this is quite clearly not true.
Most people's encounters with healthcare will involve nurses, not doctors, but no one in the audience suggested that doctors were not the sole providers of healthcare (I was too cross to be coherent!). Nurses are the largest workforce in health services but why so invisible?
Is it because, in most cases, nurses do such a good job that they go unnoticed and the contribution to healthcare from nursing only becomes apparent when it all goes wrong and patients, families and carers suffer?
Who is giving a voice to nursing within the current debates? Have you read The Prime Minister's Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery in England?1 What do you think of it? Will it make any difference to you and your role? What is happening in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – are there different issues in the different countries?
Would you encourage friends and families moments to join the profession? What is it about your job you enjoy? Why did you come into nursing and why have you stayed?
I have just met a new group of students and I am always so impressed with their enthusiasm and determination to join the profession. I am looking forward to working with these students and support them on their new journey. I hope that they learn a lot and become the type of nurse who works skilfully and sensitively with the people they encounter.
What issues within the nursing profession would you like politicians to take seriously? Have you let people around you know what they are and discussed how you might get listened to and taken seriously? If, as nurses, we work together we might get our message across.
Although busy days can make it difficult to have the energy to campaign and promote the nurse viewpoint, someone needs to do it and as I suggested if we do things together it might have some impact.
Let us know what you think about the current issues in nursing and if the organisations writing the reports ask for comments then find the time to add yours!!
1. The Prime Minister's Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery in England available from cnm.independent.gov.uk/the-report/
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