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June 8th is the day when we all go to the polls and vote for our next government - so what better day to tackle the subject of politics in nursing. In recent years we have seen many contentious issues hit the headlines that have affected nursing: Brexit, the NHS bursary, nursing pay, austerity and cutbacks just to name a few. This clearly shows that political decisions affect nursing and the people we care for daily. Hamer (2015) presents a strong case for nurses to engage in the political process stating "As outlined in the new Nursing and Midwifery Council Code, to ensure professionalism and trust we need to “provide leadership to make sure people’s wellbeing is protected” and that we improve people’s experience of the healthcare system. That means as leaders we all need to ask questions and actively engage in the political process" Which implies that we all have a degree os professional duty towards being political.
- Politics can change the work we do
- We can represent the interests of the nursing profession
- We can advocate for our patients
Jackson goes on to outline ways in which nurses can be politically active:
- Encourage others to vote
- Call or email MPs and tell them what matters to you
- Engage with a political party or organisation on social media
- Actively participate in your nursing union
- Join a protest or demonstration
- Write a letter to a journal editor about an issue
- Run for a political position
- Talk about politics
But what do you think? This well timed #WeNurses discussion aims to explore some of the following questions:
- What do we mean by being political as nurses?
- Do nurses have a professional responsibility to be politically aware / active?
- Why should nurses engage in the political process?
- How do we encourage more nurses to be politically aware?
- How do we empower the people we care for to vote and be politically active?
- What can nurses do to be more politically active?
- What are the benefits of having a politically active profession?
Please join us to discuss "The Political Nurse" on Election Day, whether you are politically active or not as we would love to hear your thoughts and views.