Happy 70th Birthday to the NHS


Public opinion in a recent survey shows how much nurses and doctors are valued as we celebrate 70 years of the NHS. Three quarters of those surveyed said that they were the most trusted and respected professions in the country, whilst seven out of ten people said they were some of the most important roles in society. Despite all of this, only 3% knew that nurses worked in mental health, and 33% could not name a nursing role outside of a hospital (such as a district nurse).

And that’s the point of the £8 million ‘We are the NHS’ campaign, funded by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care. It wants to throw a light on the broad diversity of available specialisms within nursing – focussing on some of the hot spots such as mental health, learning and disability, and community and general practice nurses.

The campaign will launch on the NHS’s birthday on 5th July 2018 and will run on TV, radio, posters and social media – with a view to educating the future nursing workforce, by primarily targeting 14-18-year olds.

Yet whilst it’s a pleasant enough advert (and we feel mean even writing this on the eve of their celebrations), we’re not sure how far it goes to really talking to 14-18-year olds. It feels like this is an advert that’s been made with a broad-brush appeal (it’s certainly touching enough), but even the voiceover makes it feel like its targeting an older group. The message doesn’t feel direct enough, it doesn’t spell it out (and we’re not talking about dumbing the message down). 14-18-year olds are bright and switched on. However, this advert just feels a bit ‘old school’.

In fairness, perhaps that’s its intention, as the campaign research found that only four in ten parents said that they would be proud of their son and daughter for being a nurse. So, perhaps it’s a campaign that’s equally targeted at the parents as influencers. Okay, we get that. But these young adults have many more channels that influence them, than those of yesteryear.

Although, to be fair, alongside the national recruitment campaign NHS England is working with over 800 nursing and midwifery ambassadors who are helping parents, teachers, and young people see nursing and midwifery as a career of choice.

That said, the advert still falls short in youth appeal. It means that media placement is going to have to work extra hard, hoping that – through association – it will encourage our potential nurses of tomorrow to take a second look at nursing. We hate to say it, but we’re just not convinced. That’s just our humble opinion.

And, as massive fans of the NHS, we hope we’re proved wrong and that it does open the hearts and minds of the prime 14-18-year audience. We really do.

Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “The NHS is our country’s most loved institution and that is down to the expert skill, dedication and compassion of its brilliant staff.

“There are over 350 careers available within the NHS giving young people an astonishing range of options. Nursing and midwifery make up the largest part of the workforce and as I know from personal experience, provides a unique opportunity to make a real difference to peoples’ lives in a way that simply cannot be matched.

“Nurses and midwives provide expert skilled care and compassion, and they are highly talented leaders in the NHS. This campaign is all about inspiring young people and others who want a change of career to come and work for the NHS and have a rewarding and fulfilling career that makes a real difference.”

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Future nurses who are inspired this summer will help the NHS to reach its first century and beyond. This powerful campaign marks a turning point but the focus on the next generation needs to continue long after the birthday candles have gone out.

“Nursing is a job like no other and the difference you make to people’s lives is very visible and highly rewarding. Patients get the majority of their care from nurses and the next generation will be at the forefront of innovation.”

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

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Happy 70th Birthday to the NHS
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