Nurses Transform Lives

This wonderful article was published in Nursing Times OPINION:

In stressful times it’s important to remember how many lives nurses transform

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If you had the chance to reunite with a patient after 10 years to see the difference you had made to their life, would you do it?

This was an opportunity given to a mental health nurse, after Nursing Times helped facilitate an emotional reunion with a former patient last year.

Hope Virgo contacted us because she wanted to shine a light on the “massive contribution” a nurse had made to her recovery journey.

When Ms Virgo was 17, she was admitted to a mental health unit in Bristol with severe anorexia. She said the support of a particular nurse, Mandy Robinson, helped save her life and gave her the skills to stay well more than a decade later.

“It got me thinking about how often nurses see the longer-term impact of the care and support they provide”

When I met the pair, it was a real joy to see how excited they both were to meet again after so many years.

It got me thinking about how often nurses see the longer-term impact of the care and support they provide.

How often do you reunite with your patients? Is this something you would want to do?

I know that for Ms Robinson, this was a rare occasion but one that she thoroughly enjoyed.

In a video created by Nursing Times, Ms Robinson said: “As a nurse – and I’ve done this job for 30 years now – I think we rarely see the kind of longer-term outcomes of how people have done.”

She said it had been “lovely” to see Ms Virgo and to know that she had made “a little contribution” to who she was now.

In response, Ms Virgo assured Ms Robinson that she had in fact made a “massive contribution”.

Ms Virgo said: “I think quite often we don’t realise that, and obviously at the time we just take you all for granted, but all the stuff that you taught me in hospital I now use all of that stuff to help me stay well.”

Observing their interaction from behind the camera I could see what Ms Virgo’s words meant to her former nurse: she was completely made up and overwhelmed.

Together they looked back on Ms Virgo’s time as an inpatient and talked about how they used to go out on runs around the hospital.

Ms Virgo told how Ms Robinson had helped her to understand how to exercise in a positive way and that it did not have to be something that was “obsessional”.

“It is vital to look back and reflect on the positives and remind yourselves of the life-changing work you do for so many people”

After the story went online earlier this week, Ms Virgo posted a link on social media site Twitter and wrote: “If you ever doubt yourself as a nurse watch this and realise the long-term impact you are having.”

At a time when the nursing workforce is under severe – and escalating – pressure, it is vital to look back and reflect on the positives and remind yourselves of the life-changing work you do for so many people.

During International Year of the Nurse and Midwife it seems more than appropriate to be shouting about the difference you are all are making.

 

 

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.