International Nurses' Day

Posted on Monday 19th May 2014

On International Nurses Day, HSMC’s Yvonne Sawbridge discusses why more professional authority for nurses doesn’t mean re-inventing the wheel but instead should be about resurrecting their 10 key roles

Yvonne Sawbridge"Today is International Nurses’ day- a day when nurses across the world celebrate and reflect on nursing through a variety of ways. I wanted to add my reflections to this, in part generated from a small comment made by Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England in his inaugural speech last month (link below). He mentioned the need for “more professional authority for nurses and midwives” – but does this matter?

In the NHS Plan (2000) the Ten Key Roles for Nurses were introduced. This embodied a notion of professional authority. These key roles included the ability for nurses to order diagnostic tests; make direct referrals to other services; to prescribe, and to take a lead in the organisation of local health services. This policy was supported by some legislative changes, but implementation was patchy, and the vision of all these roles being fully embraced by all registered nurses was far from being realised three years after the policy was introduced. (Sawbridge 2003 unpublished). Maybe if it had been, then Simon Stevens would not have to raise this issue again in 2014....."

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