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.”
Safe staffing and equality have been an issue since the start
Parliament passed the Nurses Registration Act in 1919.
A new exhibition charts the history of nursing from the Nurses Registration Act to modern-day.
In the centenary year of nurse registration, a new exhibition charts the history of the journey from the Nurses Registration Act in 1919 through to the modern-day.
Called ‘Wake up Slackers! The great nursing registration controversy’ the exhibition looks at the heated arguments around the official registration of nurses through the first registration of men, overseas nurses and one of the first nurses to be struck off.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) was just three years old when registration first happened and securing this had been part of its founding ambitions.
The exhibition shows how many of the discussions and controversies of the past, including safe staffing, continue today and influence many of the discussions around modern nursing.
The Nurses Registration Act.
The exhibit contains artefacts from the RCN archive including invites to member meetings to discuss the College’s proposals for state registration, House of Commons Parliamentary debates during the year the Nurses Registration Act was passed in 1919, as well as drafts of legislation.
Opening during Black History Month, the exhibition also showcases the story of Eva Lowe, one of the first known black nurses on the register. Research shows how, despite being well qualified she was rejected many times before finding employment. It shows how she received vague and unsatisfactory excuses for her rejection, some based on false concern for her welfare.
As well as letters and documents from the RCN’s own archive, the exhibition will also feature items loaned from other collections such as that of the regulator the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Are nurses born or made?
Frances Reed, Events and Exhibitions Co-ordinator at the Royal College of Nursing said: “It is incredible today to think that 100 years ago there were arguments about whether or not nurses should be registered.
“Today it seems unthinkable for somebody with such responsibility for the welfare of patients not to be registered and yet there were strident clashes over it, despite other health professions securing regulation well before nursing.
“The story of the first black nurse on the register, Eva Lowe is important to highlight too. There is little known about black nurses whose names are on the very early 1920s registers. It is essential we recognise that their contribution to health care existed well before Windrush.
“It’s also particularly striking to see how hard Eva Lowe had to fight to become the first black nurse on the register, and how 100 years later racial inequalities still exist in the health and care system.
The exhibition runs at RCN HQ in Cavendish Square, London 17 October – 20 March 2020
One in six nursing associates drop out before qualifying, finds report
Despite this trainees showed “high levels of enthusiasm and commitment to the programme”.
Only 65% of trainee nursing associates said they planned to work as a nursing associate once qualified.
An independent evaluation of the nursing associate role commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) has found that while there are “high levels of enthusiasm and commitment to the programme”, one in six nursing associates are dropping out before completing the course.
Attrition rates for trainee nursing associates fell slightly below that of student nurses, with 18% leaving before completing the course.
While ill health and personal issues were some of the most common reasons for leaving the programme, nearly a quarter (23%) withdrew because they failed to meet the academic requirements of the programme – with numeracy skills cited as a key issue.
One trainee said they found the “attitudes towards the role and the negative feedback about Nursing Associates” challenging.
Only 65% of trainees said they intend to continue working as a nursing associate once qualified as the programme is often seen as a stepping stone to becoming a registered nursing.
Mark Radford, Chief Nursing Officer, Health Education England said the report “highlights some challenges that we must address to ensure that students such as ensuring the quality and oversight of placements, attrition and numeracy support.”
“We also recognise that further work and research is required to ensure that the profession is supported and utilised in the workforce of health and social care as part of the MDT. I am pleased to be able to report that we are in the process of identifying candidates to be considered as NA ambassadors across England.
Commenting on the report, Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), said; “Having had the pleasure of meeting many nursing associates across the country, I am continually inspired by their enthusiasm and dedication for providing care and they should be very proud of the difference they make for the people they support.”
“I look forward to seeing how nursing associates continue to develop and be supported in their work, long into the future.”
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