Changing the conversation about health

Nurses are vital to progressive, integrated healthcare – because they have the trust of patients

Nurses earn the confidence of their patients and are often best placed to advise them on alternative care, writes Professor Dame Donna Kinnair:

Nurses and midwives are in a unique position to ensure that every patient is able to access holistic care.

Therefore the provision of integrated nursing is the offer of care, advice and treatment that relieves both mental and or physical suffering and supports a patient’s well-being.

In recent years, there has been a move away from what is sometimes referred to as the ‘medical or disease-specific’ model of healthcare.

Nurse and patient

Practitioners and nurses need to work together to ensure patients are receiving progressive care

Now, we’re more likely to care for a person as a whole being, within the context of their family environment, and focus on working through the issues that are important to them.

For many of our patients, traditional medicines or clinical interventions are complemented by the use of a variety of herbal remedies, nutrition, acupuncture, mindfulness practices and yoga to name but a few.

Many of our patients will seek alternative ‘cures’ to long term conditions, a cancer diagnosis or a mental health condition. 

Nurses have the confidence of their patients; a recent Ipsos Mori poll suggests that 93 per cent of the public trust their nurse.

We are in a prime position to discuss any treatments or concerns they have about their health and the interventions they are using in an evidence-based and supportive way.  

The College of Medicine supports practitioners to learn about available treatments and the impact of such treatments.  

The move to have closer integration between all practitioners seeking to improve health and care – so they can learn from each other – has always been the goal of the College of Medicine.

The College has been at the forefront in widening the thinking of all of its members by delivering courses where those with the foresight of educating themselves about holistic health care can learn from one another.  

Nursing teams equipped with knowledge of self-care and holistic care are integral to the success of the transformational change that can improve patients’ health when they are in charge of defining and finding the interventions that work for them.

It is therefore vital that nurses help shape plans for delivering integrated health care at local and regional levels.

We are rightly placed to ensure that services are planned around patient care needs rather than disease-specific and we can advise on the resources needed to do this.