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'We Have Lots to Celebrate', Chief Nursing Officer Tells University Conference

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England’s Chief Nursing Officer has encouraged nurses and midwives to ‘talk up what they do and be proud’ in order to stem the flow of negative publicity that has affected the profession.

Jane Cummings was speaking at a University of Worcester conference, entitled ‘Nursing and Midwifery: A Celebration – Valuing Practice’, where delegates were urged to start a ‘social movement’ to increase pride and spread the positive word in order to counter the damage of recent, well-publicised scandals.

She said: “My message to nurses would be to talk up what you do, tell people and be proud. Start locally and get the word out there – getting patients to share their positive experiences is the most powerful way of spreading the word.

“The NHS is one of the biggest employers in the world, and it treats around one million people every 36 hours, so we have to accept that people will make mistakes. However, we need to have the confidence to ask complainants how they feel, to get their feedback and to turn those negatives into positives.

“We have a lot to celebrate, and by getting the word out there we can create an NHS and a profession that people respect, and ensure people are aware of and understand the exemplary work that is carried out day in, day out.”

Among the other speakers at the conference, held at the University of Worcester Arena, was Dr Jan Quallington, the University’s Head of Health and Society and herself a registered nurse for over 30 years.

She said: “We must not let the important roles which nurses play be jeopardised by a lack of public confidence. It is up to all of us to create a culture in which good practice can flourish, and in which we recognise and celebrate the exemplary carried out by nurses every single day.

“We need to start a revolution in terms of positive publicity. Good care, when recognised, celebrated and rewarded, is infectious.”

Throughout her keynote speech, Ms Cummings highlighted the various ways in which she had been inspired by the outstanding work of nurses since becoming Chief Nursing Officer in 2012.

She singled out the recent Nursing Times Awards as a ‘phenomenal’ and ‘truly moving’ celebration of the profession, and also told delegates of her experiences during visits to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan and a number of English hospitals that have embraced the ‘Six Cs of Nursing’ initiative, which puts care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment at the forefront.

She added: “Every single patient has their own story – if we can put ourselves in their shoes it can make such a difference. Every one of us has a role to play – we need clear vision, values and objectives if we are to maintain an NHS that we can be proud of in the future.”