Nursing values stand against those of Brexit

The NHS is inclusive and treats all patients according to need. The EU referendum result is vital to its future, says Jim Bethel

'We have more in common with the EU than not' Picture: Alamy

It is a strange feeling to be working on this article in the middle of June. For as I sit and write there is still uncertainty about the nature of the UK’s relationship with the European Union. 

And by the time you read this, everything should have become clear following the referendum on 23 June. 

This decision has particular resonance for me as a nurse, and as an educator. For, by its nature, our professional role sets out to promote inclusivity and embraces diversity.

Leave is isolationist

The leave campaign, however, appears at heart to value exclusivity and isolationism. Too much of the Brexit campaign appears to be driven by the fear of ‘otherness’ and the covert or latent xenophobia that characterises some of the policies associated with it.

As a founding member of the European Society for Emergency Nursing I value the opportunities that close professional ties with our colleagues across the continent provide. 

The NHS, by its very nature, enshrines the values of inclusivity and the provision of universal care for all. This is underpinned in our professional code of conduct that requires us to provide our service without fear or favour.

Essence of nationhood

So, with these thoughts in mind, I hope that by the time you read this we will have rediscovered the essence of nationhood in the 21st century. 

The essence of nationhood is that, despite significant historical differences and significant challenges in the way the EU operates, we have far more in common with our European friends, neighbours and colleagues than differences that could set us apart.    

Jim Bethel is senior lecturer and advanced nurse practitioner at the University of Wolverhampton and a member of the Emergency Nurse editorial advisory board

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