Together we can win the argument for more resources

‘For too many healthcare professionals, using incomprehensible jargon continues to be a badge of honour’ (Farringdon 2014).

As champions of person-centred care, we nurses work hard to uphold the RCN Principles of Nursing Practice and ensure people are at the centre of decision-making processes about them and their care. To do this, we have to communicate effectively and consign incomprehensible jargon to the proverbial sharps bin.

However, we can find ourselves on the receiving end of incomprehensible jargon used by other professional groups that may compromise our ability to provide safe, effective and compassionate person-centred care. The language of health economics, for example, is often banded about in health care and used to inform decision making especially with regard to resource allocation. In this way, decisions that directly affect the provision of care can be made without us. Or we can find ourselves at the centre of decision-making processes where we are surrounded by people using incomprehensible jargon that we cannot engage with. The inability to communicate effectively can lead to adverse, if not dire unintended consequences.

Perhaps in such times of austerity, more so than ever before, as nurses we have to stand up and demand ‘no decision about us without us’, and we have to make sure that we can fully contribute to decision-making processes.

An RCN programme, developed and delivered in partnership with the Office for Public Management to build nursing capability in economic assessment, equips nurses leading service innovations with the knowledge and skills to fully and effectively engage in resource allocation decision making. Nurses with the knowledge and skills to apply the principles of economic assessment to demonstrate the value of service innovations in practice, coupled with their expert clinical knowledge, are a force to be reckoned with.

Nurses leading a service innovation in England may be eligible to apply for the current programme

About the author

Ann McMahon is research and innovation manager at the RCN

Reference: Farringdon C (2014): Lost in Translation