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Developing a strategy to make nursing visible.

Phase three of NZNO's Visibility of Nursing campaign is about to begin. This will focus on NZNO's public role of working effectively at the highest decision-making levels.

NZNO is the largest nursing organisation in the country with more than 47,000 members. Nurses are the largest professional workforce in the health sector, making a substantial contribution to the delivery of safe quality care at an individual patient level and across the health and social systems. Nurses significantly influence population health outcomes (1) but the role and value of nursing can go unrecognised, as evidenced when health cuts or restructuring occur. (2)

NZNO members (through a 2012 annual general meeting policy remit) identified two aims on which action was required: to publicly promote the value of nursing and nurses; and elevate NZNO's professional profile.

As a result of the remit, NZNO developed the Visibility of Nursing project. This project is a three-year campaign and phases one and two have been completed. Phase one started in late 2013 and involved scoping the campaign strategy and campaign plan against priority 2 of NZNO's 2014/15 strategic plan ("To increase the visibility of NZNO's role as a professional organisation for nursing"). A business case and budget were prepared and approved.

Recruiting nursing champions

Phase two activated members during 2014 and 2015. This involved recruiting nursing champions across the sector and providing them with support and training to work with NZNO's wider membership to raise awareness of the project and foster its aims; and raise the visibility and professionalism of nursing in the public domain (see box above). Several other sub-projects also took place during phase two, including a refresh of the NZNO photo stock, completion of research into professionalism in nursing, and the successful implementation of the Young Nurse of the Year awards. Phase three of the campaign will focus on strategies to support and sustain the voice of nursing in the public arena.

The primary purpose of the Visibility of Nursing project is therefore twofold: firstly to raise the profile and image of nursing publicly, resulting in greater professional pride among members, promoting nursing as an essential asset within the health sector, and promoting nursing as a primary career choice; and secondly, raising the professional profile of NZNO.

Evaluating phase two

An evaluation of phase two identified a number of areas where improvements could be made to the project as phase three is developed. While the majority of components of phase two were completed on time and within budget, interviews with champions, staff and members, as part of the evaluation, identified the need to clarify how and why the visibility of nursing needs to be increased.

The public already regards nurses as one of, if not the most trusted professions, so public integrity is not an issue. What became clear from the interviews was a more pressing need to ensure nursing's voice was heard more clearly at decision-making tables--within the organisations nurses work in and at government level. What also became clear was that, at present, NZNO does not have an overarching strategy directed specifically toward developing nurses and the nursing profession.

The primary recommendation from the evaluation of phase two, therefore, is that as part of phase three, a nursing strategy for NZNO is developed. This would identify a set of clear goals for nursing and nurses; draw together the excellent work already being done across the organisation to support and promote nurses and nursing; clarify areas that could be further developed (including further development of nursing champions); and provide a pathway for achieving the identified goals.

The development of a nursing strategy will increase the nursing profession's ability to be heard and recognised. The development of the strategy will also ensure the Visibility of Nursing project has much clearer goals and outcomes as we move into phase three.

Phase three is about strengthening NZNO's position to engage key stakeholders and the community to postively influence health policy, government and health decisionmaking. Many of you will already be familiar with the Visibility of Nursing project platform (Nurses--making the difference in healthcare) and this will continue to be the public face of our work. For further information, see www. nzno.org.nz/get_involved/campaigns.

Implementation of a nursing strategy will help achieve an effective organisation as part of NZNO's 2015-2020 strategic plan. In particular, it will enable a strong focus on delivering the strategic outcomes specific to skilled nurses and a strong workforce to improve health outcomes.

We look forward to working with you as we enter phase three of the Visibility of Nursing project and develop NZNO's nursing strategy.

The role of nursing champions

Ramona Dillon is a Plunket nurse in Auckland. She used the opportunity at a large Plunket forum last year to share stories of excellence in practice with Plunket's chief executive and other non-nurse attendees. Eighty nurse attendees also received a Making a Difference badge.

Angela Crespin is an enrolled nurse from the Kapiti Coast who is actively helping nurses in the region attend local forums. At these forums nurses can share their stories and get to know each other for support.

References

(1) Aiken, L., Sloane, D., Bruyneel, L., et al. (2014). Nurse staffing education and hospital mortality in nine European countries: a retrospective observational study. The Lancet, 383, 1824-30.

(2) McCloskey, B. A., & Diers, D. K. (2005). Effects of New Zealand's health reengineering on nursing and patient outcomes. Medical Care, 43(11), 1140-1146.

By nursing policy adviser/researcher Jill Clendon and manager, nursing and professional services, Jane MacGeorge
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:professional focus
Author:Clendon, Jill; MacGeorge, Jane
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Jun 1, 2016
Words:922
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