For 2014’s International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses’ Day on 5 and 12 May I would like to propose that we add some celebration to the 6Cs.
In our very busy personal and professional lives there is often little boundary between the two! We seldom take time to appreciate what we have, where we’ve come from and the wonderful profession that we share.
I am proud to be a nurse and have been extremely fortunate in my nursing career so far to have worked with some amazing nurses and midwives from whom I have learned so much. I have also been given fantastic opportunities to experience and do things I never would have achieved on my own or in many other professions.
It is important that we celebrate nurses, midwives and all those who choose to care for others for a living. As a profession we are often negatively stereotyped and very quick to be self-critical and don’t always do as much as we can to promote the many positives of what we contribute to society. Sandy Summers’ series in The Nursing Times challenges some of these negative stereotypes and proposes further ways to break these down. The RCN’s ‘This is NursingCampaign’ also goes some way to better describe our role to the public.
We must eliminate the use of negative language to describe our profession and our place within it. A particular pet hate of mine is the use of the word “just”, as in the phrase “...just a nurse...” or “...just a student...” and certainly never both together! This devalues what we do, the role we play individually and as part of a team wherever we work. So let’s commit to never using these terms ourselves and challenging them when we hear others say them.
These, along with further efforts, are needed to ensure that there is more celebration of nurses and midwives. In the UK, the final (61st) requirement of the Nursing & Midwifery Council Code for nurses and midwives is:
“61. You must uphold the reputation of your profession at all times”
This requirement of all registered nurses and midwives is usually viewed as “don’t do things that will bring the profession into disrepute”; however, whilst this is an important interpretation, I think it should be seen as an active requirement to positively celebrate and promote the profession... and perhaps this should become the first requirement of the Code, not the last!
So, let’s take these two days on 5 and 12 May 2014 as an opportunity to celebrate nurses and midwives, to celebrate all that we do for people and to celebrate what wonderful people nurses and midwives are!
This doesn’t have to be sycophantic or arrogant; we should never be embarrassed to say who we are and what we do. Whenever I meet someone new and am asked what I do for a living, I always say first “I’m a nurse”.
So nurses and midwives everywhere, celebrate your values that make you who you are, be sure to be true to them and positively uphold the reputation of the profession.
David Foord, Nurse & Director of Quality for NHS Luton Clinical Commissioning Group