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Be proud of your work (and tell us about it)

The Nursing in Practice Awards 2008 are designed to recognise excellence and innovation in the primary care setting - nominate yourself or a colleague now!

Marilyn Eveleigh
Consultant Editor

The nursing press carries regular reports that morale is generally low in the nursing profession. The NiP survey in December certainly indicated that a majority of health visitors were dissatisfied with their role, felt stressed and would not encourage others to the role. Yet practice nurses and nurse practitioners reported high morale and job satisfaction - despite the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) and challenges of the GMS Contract.

However, you as NiP readers and those who attend NiP Events never cease to amaze the NiP team with your enthusiasm and drive to care for your patients. Not only do you get up at unsocial hours and travel vast distances to and from the Events, but the energy and interest you show to exhibitors, speakers and among yourselves throughout Event days is admirable. Ongoing subscriptions are high and the huge number of hits at www.nursinginpractice.com reveal the additional time that goes into your learning and clinical updating.

This ongoing commitment to patient care underpins nursing practice. Nurses have long combined their specialist clinical role in a consultation or contact with the holistic health promotion, social and emotional support that patients have required. This is especially so in community and primary care nursing. We are skilled at juggling roles and breaking down boundaries, offering a one-stop-shop for patients; Liberating the Talents paid tribute to this unique role and opportunity.(1)
 
Nurses have successfully pioneered healthcare programmes where they can be imaginative, pragmatic and utilise their clinical and organisational skills. Florence Nightingale started the trend, but many have followed, be they employed by the NHS or the independent, private or charity sector, at home or overseas. Everyday evidence is found in walk-in centres, NHS Direct, healthcare-associated infection initiatives, community matrons and pioneering public health projects, such as the first contact street support for night-time young drinkers in inner cities, or the Terence Higgins Trust HIV/chlamydia street screening project.
 
A significant national impact on preventive and chronic healthcare is that provided by the 19,000 practice nurses working with healthcare assistants. This role, largely established after the 1990 GMS contract, provides the workforce for the national cervical screening programme, the national childhood immunisation programme, the majority of chronic disease management reviews and leg ulcer and wound management in primary care.
  
There are 10,600 general practices in the UK undertaking numerous small-scale, but possibly innovative, initiatives that primary care nurses have pioneered. Travel health, obesity management, smoking cessation and sexual health are examples that may go unnoticed except by the patients they support. It is often difficult to share this good practice, the successful services and effective healthcare when we work in isolation.

And the winner is…
NiP wants to pay tribute to these unsung champions in the nursing workforce. We have established Nursing in Practice Awards 2008 to recognise excellence and innovation in the primary care setting, but we need you to tell us what you and/or your team have done to improve the quality of care for your patients. I really urge you to consider applying - all details are on page 16 of this issue and on www.nursinginpractice.com/awards. Please share your vision, your hurdles and your successes. Many of you have been a pioneer in your own small way, but made a huge difference to patient care.

Nurses are generally a bashful breed - we do not always recognise our achievements while "getting on with the job".  If you know someone like this, give them a nudge - remind them that their success could benefit many more patients if the initiative is shared.

NiP wants to publicise and commend best practice in primary care - so please tell us about it and the modern day pioneers that provide it!

Reference

  1. Department of Health. Liberating the talents. London: DH; 2003.

For further information go to: www.nursinginpractice.com/awards