Applying the 6Cs of nursing care to our colleagues

Nurses should pull together to implement the outgoing CNO's 6Cs of nursing care

Nurses should pull together to implement the outgoing CNO's 6Cs of nursing care, writes Helene Donnelly

Picture: iStock

Knowing that Jane Cummings is stepping down as chief nursing officer (CNO) for England has got me thinking about her 6Cs of nursing: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, commitment.

They stand for our professional commitment to always deliver professional care to our patients. But how are these applied to our relationships with colleagues?

Applying the 6Cs 

I have been shocked during my nursing career by how NHS staff treat each other. It continues to astound me how professionals working in health and social care can be so uncaring towards each other. Why is this? And how can we break down the negative behaviours and conduct of some, which impedes us from delivering professional, high-quality care to our patients.

Health and social care environments are always going to be challenging places to work, and the pressure is ever increasing; with funding cuts, difficulties in recruitment and retention and an ageing population with increasingly complex care needs.

However, to ensure our patients receive high-quality care and services, we must first look after our staff and each other.

Effective change

Nurses, midwives and support workers make up more than half of the total number of staff working in the NHS, representing around 600,000 people. This significant number can affect change.

'If we all strive to apply the 6Cs to our interactions with each other, we will see a happier and more valued workforce'

If we all strive to apply the 6Cs to our interactions with each other, and our fellow health and social care professionals, and to respectfully challenge each other when we see behaviours that do not adhere to them, we will see a happier and more valued workforce.

We can drive change from the ground up and share responsibility for this with more senior NHS leaders. Afetr all, we all have a responsibility to reflect and be accountable for our own behaviours, and we can and should all influence and lead by positive example.

Similarly, nursing and other NHS leaders must demonstrate the 6Cs towards their staff and hold other senior leaders who exhibit inappropriate behaviours to account.  

Recognition where due

We need to help each other to continuously maintain and improve good standards in health and social care. Most nurses, midwives and support workers do this every day and should be recognised for their efforts in delivering excellent care even without the correct infrastructure to help them.

Nursing is the most rewarding and valuable profession. But it is sometimes challenging and made more so by colleagues and managers who behave inappropriately and are disrespectful, defensive and dismissive.

So, as we welcome in Ruth May as the new CNO, let us pay tribute to her predecessor by pulling together as nurses and caring for each other so we can continue to care for our patients.

About the author

Helene Donnelly is ambassador for cultural change and Freedom to Speak Up guardian at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust   


This article is for subscribers only