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The value of kindness

Nursing has had its share of critics of late - news items and headlines alike have been less than generous and supportive of the nursing fraternity, and the update of the talk given by journalist Christina Patterson for the BBC Radio 4 'fourthought' series once again painted a less-than-complimentary picture of a lot of nurses' work.

You may recall her 15 minute talk titled 'care to be a nurse' in April 2011, recounting her experience as a breast cancer patient in several hospitals.

Our challenge is how we take the criticism on the chin, accept the 'Six Cs,' the Department of Health's focus on priorities for nurses promoted by lead nurse Jane Cummings and colleagues, and make sure we feel good about the self-promotional work we should be doing on our own and our collective behalf.

It is easy to get defensive and worse still, cynical and disenchanted, after such a barrage of negative publicity. We know that despite nurse shortages at the Mid Staffordshire hospital being seen as a contributory factor to the poor standards and outcomes leading to the plummeted care at the hospital, nurses and particularly senior colleagues have not gone without criticism themselves in the Francis review.

The term 'victim blaming' immediately comes to mind; but we should not resort to negative responses to such stories. We need to rise up and reclaim the core values as well as the modern progressive academic rigour of what nursing in the 21st Century is about.

Those core values, what are they?

I say that 'kindness' is the key.  We often talk about 'compassion,' and this is indeed one of the six Cs, but I prefer 'kindness' as the central core value. An exercise with friends could be to list the six Cs without cribbing, then score each on their priority value out of 10 and compare and discuss with your nurse team and colleagues… but I digress.

The core value after 'kindess' needs to be more kindess, followed by a range of other ways we can make sure patients live well in hospital and leave healed and recovered, live well at home, and live happily and healthily in all settings. They in turn can tell others about how KIND the nurses were and are being in how they support these aims.

I am sure there are many other core values and I welcome dialogue from NIP readers on this topic. I can really feel a core values outburst coming on - perhaps a toolkit - but I know there are lots out there already and I won't flatter myself that I can add greater value to the wisdom, knowledge and experience of others.

Please do leave your comments below if you want to discuss your own core values.