Can nurses really speak out too much?

This article caught my attention from the Nursing Times (a monthly magazine for the nurses of the United Kingdom). I had to do some homework to learn about The Queen’s Nursing Institute and its function.

Healthcare policy is a key activity for The Queen’s Nursing Institute. The QNI works to influence decision makers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on health care policy including primary care, public health, nursing education, regulation and skill mix and issues such as services for homeless people and reducing health inequalities. To do so QNI contributes to stakeholder meetings, responds to national consultations, takes up issues raised by local projects where it appears they may have wider significance, and provides examples and information to policy-makers.  Wikipedia

At the annual conference of the QNI held in London last week, Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, was told by government representatives that “nurses voices are too loud.”

Read her response below. 

 

 

Let’s Shout Together for Community Nursing

27 SEPTEMBER, 2019 BY  KATHRYN GODFREY 

Nurses at the annual Queen’s Nursing Institute conference held this week in London were told about the government response to hearing the views of nurses.

Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, told delegates that she had been told by government representatives to bring her membership “under control” so that the voice of nurses would not become “too loud”.

“Nurses do need to speak out about key workforce issues such as safe staffing”

This conversation occurred at a government meeting, but Dame Donna reassured the audience that she would ensure the nursing voice would be heard and in fact “amplified”.

But can nurses ever speak out too much? As a profession they have traditionally been known for getting on with their essential work and not shouting about policy and resource issues. It is therefore good to hear that there is concern that their voices are getting louder.

Nurses do need to speak out about key workforce issues, such as safe staffing as well as more specific issues that affect the patients that they care for. For example, patients who are incontinent are often not provided with adequate supplies of pads to manage their condition. It is big issues like staffing and more specific issues like incontinence resources that affect the care nurses can give and the quality of life patients experience.

Nurses who do speak out can feel like they are speaking in a vacuum and that it is hard to get their message to the decision makers.

Now Dame Donna is asking nurses to share their experiences with her so that she can amplify and communicate to government the concerns of all nurses.

She said: “What I want to do is make sure your voice is amplified through my voice and I can’t do that unless you share your voices and stories with me.

“So that every time I look around, every time I speak to a minister I have got the basics of that conversation, so I am truly representing how nurses feel,” she told attendees.

“This is a crucial time for nurses to raise their voices and have their points heard”

“My pledge to you is that I will continue to amplify your voices and in return I ask you to share your voices and your stories with me, so that we can collectively be a unified profession.”

These are difficult times. We hear little other than Brexit in the news, which means key issues for the health and welfare of the population are being neglected. This is a crucial time for nurses to raise their voices and have their points heard.

The new advertising campaign We are the NHS is timely. The video about nursing is an excellent showcase for the many and varied jobs nurses carry out. It is a great illustration of how highly skilled and essential a workforce nurses are, the glue that holds the NHS together. So the more we hear from them the better. Let’s hope that those who need to listen don’t put their fingers in their ears.

nursing times

I wish our fellow nurses across the pond every success in making their voices heard.

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