On March 8th 2018 I went to the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh (RIE) along with seven of my colleagues engaged in graduate nursing studies at the University of Edinburgh to profile the launch of Nursing Now—a global campaign aimed to raise the profile of nurses. To embody the essence of the Nursing Now campaign, we graduate students went to the nursing units at RIE to give nurses a gift of coffee as gesture of gratitude.
One hundred and twenty cups of coffee were handed out on over sixteen nursing units! It was amazing to see the response of the staff nurses when the we came around to hand out the coffees. Many of them saw us coming and asked cynically “oh you brought us coffee?” When we said,”yes we did, would you like one?” It was amazing, the nurses body posture became relaxed and a smile stretched from ear to ear. “Really!” They respond, “You shouldn’t have, that’s really very nice of you!” Many would said. Some, were a bit more suspicious: “what’s the catch?” “Nothing” we said, “we are nurses from different parts of the world doing our graduate work and we want to say thank you as nurses for the great work that you do.” When we introduce ourselves as nurses, I think that opened the conversation. It seemed that nurses did not expect to be sought out specifically to be thanked, and it was apparent that they appreciated the gesture.
To understand the challenges of nurses and to get an understanding of how nurses could support other nurse in their work we asked many nurses on our rounds “If you could change the world tomorrow as a nurse, what would you do?” We documented the response as we went around (see photo attached). Common responses included “more staff” and “better pay”, with variations in that theme being “just fill the positions we have,” and “can we show people what the actual cost of health care is.” Many nurses wanted “to have more involvement in the resuscitation status of patients” and decisions around health care structure and delivery stating: “involve nurses at all levels of decisions making.” Unique responses included “use Facebook,” and “support nurses working full scope” to “show patients care and most importantly, LOVE”.
What struck me about this experience was how committed nurses are to their work and their patients; and nurses want to get it right! I am reassured that nurses will have the capacity and inspiration to be the leaders of the future. By supporting each other, I am certain we nurses will further find energy and capacity to create new directions in healthcare.
Andrew Waddington, RN from Calgary, Canada