We have a voice. The Royal College of Nursing tells us so – in fact, that they are “the” voice of nursing in the UK. But, perhaps, they are in fact “a” voice of nursing. With a diverse range of opportunities for nurses to speak out and be heard, not to mention on the international stage (which, arguably, by withdrawing from the International Council of Nurses the Royal College has rejected), is it time to accept that the nurses voice may be more fragmented than it traditionally has been and think about more collaborative ways to ensure impact?
Personally I think the ICN and the RCN are really important. I think it is good to have those clear broad brush messages and campaigns that represent key issues that need taking forward with the backing of their members. They should be led by those who are skilled in assessing the political landscape and an ability and authority to drive forward these messages. However, the impact is affected by both buy-in from the membership join that collective voice and political ears to not just listen but to value and take action. The louder the voice, the greater the impact? Well, not necessarily.
So, how do we go about making our voice heard? Can we “make” our voice heard?
Well, maybe, maybe not. But I can’t control the reaction of those who do hear, even if they are listening. What I can control, however, is what my action is – what I want my nursing voice to be and how I use it as an individual. And, to a reasonable extent, who I affiliate it with and trust to use it wisely.
What has become clear to me over the last few years is that using our voice as nurses is more powerful when we pull together and add our individual voices to the overall voice. Our stories and our experiences are powerful. They are hard to ignore and collectively they add into an overall message that can have impact. So, for me, I’ll keep using my voice from my small corner of the nursing world and see how I can add to other voices. That’s one of the great powers of communities such as the #NurseBloggers2020 community, #WeNurses #WhyWeDoResearch and others.
So let’s build each other up, amplify each other’s voices and be authentic and clear.
As CS Lewis said in a letter he wrote to a friend, when talking about authenticity:
“the idea was that a human being must become real…must be speaking with its own voice (not one of its borrowed voices), expressing its actual desires (not what it imagines that it desires), being for good or ill itself, not any mask, veil, or persona.”