Blog - 5th Biennial Sigma European Conference, 28th May 2020

QMU Nursing

Reflections by Omega Xi Chapter Secretary on the first day of the virtual conference, hosted by Phi Xi Chapter in Portugal

Dr Caroline Dickson, Senior Lecturer in Nursing, Queen Margaret University & Omega XI Chapter Secretary



https://sigma.esenfc.pt/event/speakers/index.php?target=listSpeakers&defLang=2&event=5



Amanda Fernandes, Director of the WHO collaborating centre for Portugal posed three questions:


‘What is a nurse?’

‘What are nurses for?’

‘What is the next move?’


I struggled with the first question, ‘what is a nurse?’  I mulled it over and considered:


is it a title?

A qualification?

The tasks done?

The setting within which we work?

The uniform?

An occupation?

Or merely a word?


All these aspects were included in the presentation. For me, these labels do not capture the essence of ‘nurse’, despite recognising the narrative in policy documents.  I realised that perhaps the wrong question is being asked.  Surely, the question is ‘who is a nurse?’ if we are to understand what it is like to be a nurse, recognise who has the potential to be a nurse, grow as a nurse and be leaders in nursing. I recognise a nurse as someone who is knowledgeable, authentic, courageous and compassionate, with a growing expertise that has a clear focus on person-centred practice and improving service-user and family experiences of care.  They do this in a multitude of ways, within a multitude of contexts, working with a range of different people in different teams.


2020 is the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.  Perhaps we need to think about the message we want to convey as we talk about ourselves and our colleagues in the profession we are privellidged to be part of.

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