Daenerys Targaryen will turn her fire on the UK’s nursing shortage as Emilia Clarke takes on a new ambassadorial role this month.
The actress will join the country’s largest body for nursing staff to support its work to raise the profile of the profession in the UK.
The new ambassador will join frontline nurses and health care workers to tackle the issues affecting the profession, including a falling number in training and shortages in the current workforce.
She will also raise funds to support professionals through the RCN Foundation charity, which makes grants to nurses in training or hardship.
Emilia Clarke, best known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen, or 'The Mother of Dragson', in HBO’s Game of Thrones, will play a lead part in the new Star Wars film Solo which premieres next month.
The actress will use her personal social media to extend the reach of campaigns to promote the work of nurses. She has previously used her Instagram account – where she has 16.7 million followers – to support the RCN’s successful campaign to end the Government’s 1 per cent cap on nurses’ pay.
Emilia Clarke said: “The vast majority of healthcare in our lifetime will come from nurses. Nevertheless, they too often fall victim to outdated ideas that leave fantastic nurses overlooked, under-appreciated and underpaid.
“Nurse 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 them.
“But despite the support they give, they aren’t getting it in return. Today’s nurses feel an easy target for cuts, not the priority for investment. Despite working round the clock, too many are forced to seek hardship support.
“It is sadly little surprise that their number is beginning to dwindle. Nurses who’ve dedicated their working life to mental health, school children or around our local communities are dropping dramatically and their expertise is lost.
“The money the NHS has to keep our nurses trained and at the forefront of healthcare has been cut in half this year in England. And young people who have the drive and commitment are being put off by the new fees they must now pay to train.
“I am fiercely proud of my new role as ambassador and vow to use it to champion nurses and their work. Together, we must attract young people into the profession, support them to innovate and become the powerful nurses of tomorrow.”
Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Nurses are increasingly at the cutting-edge of healthcare – delivering world-class care for patients - but need constant support to stay there. We are delighted that nurses will benefit from such high-profile support.
“When there is a considerable shortage of nurses in the UK – a gap of 40,000 in England’s NHS alone – this kind of energetic campaigning is needed more than ever. The Royal College of Nursing is proud to have Emilia Clarke’s help in fighting for nurses and raising the profile of their innovative work.”