This site is intended for health professionals only

Taking action to thrive in the current climate

For the first time at a Nursing in Practice conference we held a panel discussion in Manchester in May 2011 entitled ‘Taking action to thrive in the current climate'.

Its aim was to generate debate and discussion in these challenging times and it was particularly timely in that the health secretary had just announced the NHS reforms were to be put on hold to allow a listening exercise to take place.

This was an opportunity for delegates to have their say and also hear views from an eminent panel which included representatives from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Higher Education and Unite the Union.

As members of the panel we were asked to consider three key messages we wanted delegates to take away from the conference to help them thrive in the current climate. Seeing this as an opportunity to motivate and inspire primary care nurses, and recognising the challenging nature of the current climate, I welcomed the opportunity and suggested delegates consider the 3 p's:

Proactive - Don't be reactive and wait to be told what the changes are. Be proactive and get involved early on, no matter how small your input and don't take no for an answer!

Portfolio - Get your portfolio up to date and use it as a showcase to tell people about the skills, knowledge and attributes you have. Access as much continuing professional development (CPD) as you can, whether that includes courses, workshops, forums, clinical supervision or more structured learning at a college or university. Every primary care trust has a service level agreement (SLA) with the higher education institutes in the area, so knock on your manager's door and ask what modules/units are available.

This could include a wide range of clinical modules, such as chronic heart disease (CHD) or mental health, as well as professional modules including change, management and leadership, all of which are crucial in the current climate if nurses are to be involved in commissioning. There is something for everyone.

Proud - When asked what you do, don't say, “I am just a nurse”! Say, “I am a nurse and proud of it”. It is difficult to be positive in the current climate and we are all facing challenges but being a nurse has immense rewards and primary care is a great place to work. So be proud to be part of it.

The discussion was extremely stimulating and challenging and I hope gave delegates some useful advice to take away and apply to their current practice. Were you there? What did you think and did you leave feeling motivated and inspired to thrive in the current climate? More importantly, have you been involved in the listening exercise? If so, let us know.