This site is intended for health professionals only

CNO calls for 'more compassionate' nursing workforce

Nurses should be monitored on the level of compassionate care offered to patients, the chief nursing officer is expected to say later today (Tuesday 4 December).

Jane Cummings will launch Compassion in Practice - a three-year strategy for nursing - during the CNO's annual conference in Manchester.

She is expected to claim that nurses must not be assessed on their technical skills alone because “poor care is a betrayal of what we stand for”.

“The context for health care and support is changing. Most significantly, with people living longer, we have a greater number of older patients and people to support, many with multiple and complex needs,” Cummings is expected to say.

“And while the health, care and support system provides a good - often excellent - service, this is not universal. There is poor care, sometimes very poor. Such poor care is a betrayal of what we all stand for.”

NHS organisations will also be asked by Cummings to review their culture of care and staffing levels as well as generating new ideas to measure patient feedback.

The publication of the strategy follows an eight-week consultation, which involved more than 9,000 nurses, midwives, care staff and patients and stresses the importance of the stresses the importance of 'The 6Cs' - care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), welcomed the CNO's three-year “vision” of more compassionate care but warned it must be embraced by employers as well as nursing staff if it is to be “successfully realised”.

“[The vision] needs to be supported by the right level of education and training and nurse leaders at all levels will need the right support and resources to ensure the vision becomes a reality,” he said.

“It is also important to recognise staffing levels have a real impact on patient care, and if staff have unmanageable workloads then the quality of patient care will inevitably suffer.”