The class session could not have been better timed, as publication of the Shape of Caring report had just been announced. I had not seen the report, but I was aware, based on advance information and discussions with colleagues close to Lord Willis, chair of the Shape of Caring review, what was likely to be recommended.
I knew, for example, there would be proposals for widening access to the nursing register by making it easier for health care assistants to enter nursing education by receiving credit for previous experience and undertaking a shortened programme. I questioned the wisdom of this proposal, as I have discussed previously in “Nursing education,” another blog I write. Repeating what we often hear, one of the students in the class observed that the proposal to broaden access addresses the problem of prohibiting good, caring people who wish to look after patients from doing so.
|Time to drop the apologetic "I'm only a nurse."|
The student actually agreed with me—a first! I think the problem is, many of our all-you-need-to-be-a-nurse detractors who make statements about nursing are rarely challenged. As a result, their rhetoric sticks in the minds of the public and the profession.
Wanted: An end to ‘I’m only a nurse’
I have been asked, along with others, to address in May a UK Royal College of Nursing forum that focuses on some aspects of nurse education and attitudes toward nursing. In the five minutes I’m allotted, I intend to address the apologetic “I’m only a nurse” reply that many of us give when we are asked what we do—especially if a few “high fliers” have just introduced themselves at a conference dinner table. If I never hear those words again, I will retire happy.
Lancet Commission update
Earlier in the year, after considerable thought, I decided to relinquish the lead of the Lancet Commission on UK Nursing. A few things have changed personally and professionally, and I was beginning to lose sight of our aims and how we would get there. I am glad to say that leadership is now in the excellent hands of Anne Marie Rafferty, PhD, CBE, FAAN, professor of nursing policy at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, and I will continue to serve on the commission.
We still aim to report in early 2016 and, despite my negative reflections on the Shape of Caring report, there is much in it that the Lancet Commission may be able to build on. Vitriolic criticism of the commission—its composition, its purpose, and the fact that it was inspired by The Lancet—continues in the nursing press, additional evidence of just how narrow minded we can be in UK nursing.
The Far East and Middle East beckon
I am in the process of packing for a week in China where I will address a conference in Luzhou. After returning for a few days over Easter, I leave for 10 days in Saudi Arabia. You can bet you will hear all about those visits, and I will resume production of my “travelcast” podcasts.