Emilia Clarke has pledged to campaign for more nurses and to raise the status of the profession.
The Royal College of Nursing ambassador told award finalists and nursing leaders at the RCNi Nurse Awards in London that the NHS and other health services “simply could not function without you” but warned, “today’s nurses appear an easy target for cuts, not the priority for investment.”
Emilia Clarke, best known for her role in HBO’s Game of Thrones and this summer’s Star Wars film Solo, revealed the personal motivation behind her ambassadorial role. In a speech days before the second anniversary of her father’s death, Clarke talked for the first time about his care and her experience of frontline nurses, including their expertise and compassion.
Vowed to make nursing an attractive carer.
The actor vowed to help to make nursing attractive to the next generation of professionals the day after the NHS in England launched one of the largest nurse recruitment campaigns in its history. She praised nurses for “beginning to smash the old stereotypes” and highlighted recent advances in the profession before using the words of Florence Nightingale to inspire even greater change.
Clarke vowed to fundraise for a new generation of specialist nurses who will provide innovative care to patients, improve their chances of survival and help those with long-term conditions to live fuller and more independent lives.
She followed her speech by presenting two awards to the top student nurse and overall ‘Nurse of the Year’.
The Full Speech.
Emilia Clarke, The Royal College of Nursing Ambassador, said: “As a general member of the public - dragons aside - when I think about nurses I am reminded of this quote: ‘Care for one, that's love. Care for hundreds, that's nursing.’ It’s safe to say it’s a pretty admirable attribute to dedicate oneself to a profession with long hours and little pay. However, on closer inspection whilst taking on this humbling role as ambassador to RCN and my own personal experiences, I now see the truth behind that compassion. The years of training, the multi-disciplinary and specialist knowledge, the wealth of experience. There really is so much more that we should be thinking of when we think of nurses.
“Even in my lifetime, nursing has drastically changed. Nurses are beginning to smash the old stereotypes and, for the first time, performing operations and running doctors’ surgeries. Our NHS, and other health services around the world, simply could not function without you. But even with the support you give, you aren’t getting it in return. Today’s nurses appear an easy target for cuts, not the priority for investment.
“This reality breaks my heart, as two years ago on the 10th July I lost my darling dad. Our experience was shaped by the care he received. I was given the opportunity to be involved in the intricacies that made up a day of trying to save his life and it showed me with such clarity, not only the awe-inspiring skill that the nurses clearly had, but the emotional intelligence that came along with it. After a panic at hearing bells and buzzers, I didn’t understand; the hug that came my way and the words that accompanied it both reassured and comforted me. I know my dad received the best care and medical support from our nurses that dealt with every second of those dark days.
“So the time to take action is now. We must remember when Florence Nightingale said, ‘were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better’. Well, I think it is safe to say we, the representatives and members of the RCN are discontented and we are going to do something about it. Starting with striving for better legislation in all four countries and by reassuring young people of the benefits and values of nursing. The time has come for us to reciprocate this selfless care that nurses give on a daily basis.
“The money the NHS has to keep our nurses trained and at the forefront of health care has been cut in half this year in England. This has to stop, we have to make a change. We all know the frustrations that go along with student debt. Young people who have the drive and commitment are being put off by the new fees they now must pay to train. To force the people who save our lives, to live on food stamps has to stop. Now more than ever, we must value nursing. Nursing is about more than just medicine; it’s about engaging with another person on a human level. Like hugging a daughter who knows that she is about to lose her dad.
“As ambassador, I want to help fund and engage a new generation of specialist nurses. Who, in turn, will deliver innovative practice, improve survival rates and reduce hospital stays; and help those with long term conditions to live their lives to the full. I vow to champion nurses and health care support workers and to help you gain the recognition and money you deserve. Together, we must support the next generation to innovate and become the powerful nurses of tomorrow.”