International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleLearning for carers as a means to empowerment: a Welsh vision
Type of ArticleIdeas and Influences
Author/sTina Donnelly CBE
ReferenceVolume 6, Issue 2, Article 12
Date of PublicationNovember 2016
Keywordscco-production, drivers, empowerment, influence, leadership, learning, social justice, social reform

I have thought about how this reflection on my experiences could help other nurses who feel they have an idea that may make a difference to their practice or to patient experience, yet are hesitant to act on it. During my career I have often spoken out for what I or other Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members believe is the right thing to do, and always reflect to ensure that my actions are underpinned by positive intent and consideration of the greater good. Some might see this as leadership in action. In many arenas of care provision, we can be influenced by the latest trends. Recently the buzz words of ‘integrated care’, ‘prudent healthcare’ or ‘co-production’ are being applied to ‘cross-professional boundary working’, or ‘working in professional silos’. I would like this reflection to show how these buzz words can really lead to positive action and win-win outcomes.

An area I am most passionate about is enabling carers to have the opportunity to sustain as ‘normal’ a family life as possible while meeting the daily needs of those they care for. To realise this, I believe it is necessary for nurses to think outside our usual arena of care provision. I was passionately reminded about this at a conference about 12 months ago.

At this conference, I spoke informally with representatives of a carers’ support group, who told me about the problems they had maintaining any personal quality of life. Their daily routines were wholly focused on the care they afforded to the person they were responsible for. They had no real personal time, insufficient respite, no time for a career or to gain employment, few if any holidays and certainly no idea how long their work at home would continue or how their future life would unfold. Some of the complex care needs they were dealing with surprised me and my thoughts turned to ways in which nurses or nursing could contribute.

This article by Tina Donnelly CBE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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