Why empowering nurses makes good sense

A new ICN campaign to raise the profession’s profile – and voice – will make the business case for giving nurses and their leaders more influence, writes editor Graham Scott

Nurses have spent decades trying to shake off the image of being doctors’ handmaidens, yet still the stereotype exists. In recent weeks their professionalism, skills and expertise have been highlighted by responses to terror attacks in Manchester and London, but dented by constant references in the general election campaign to nurses using food banks.

Ambitious campaign

There is a danger that casting nurses as victims will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Downtrodden and powerless, these poor people are helpless in the face of austerity and successive governments that have failed to value their contribution, both in the UK and around the world.

So it was good to hear welcome news from the International Council of Nurses conference in Barcelona, where an ambitious global campaign was announced to raise the profile of nursing in every continent.

The Nursing Now! campaign will make the business case for empowering nurses and their leaders, as there is evidence that doing so has a positive economic impact. Its aims include ensuring that nurses are better represented by governments in the policymaking process.

Louder voice

If ever a profession were in need of better leadership, it is nursing. This is not to criticise those nurses who have stepped up, put their heads above the parapet and taken on the challenge of being leaders.

They may receive higher salaries and other benefits, but they have a near-impossible task in making themselves heard. Hopefully the Nursing Now! campaign will amplify their voices.

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