Blog: What do stakeholders think of us?  Now we know.

Published on 02 May 2019

In her latest blog, our Chief Executive, Andrea Sutcliffe, talks about a stakeholder perceptions audit recently commissioned by the NMC.

Like any sensible candidate, when I was applying for this role, I did my due diligence to find out what people thought of the NMC.  Friends and colleagues were generous with their time and insights and helped me to understand that the NMC had challenges to address but a good foundation to build on.

I was very grateful but a few calls to people I know well isn't the most independent evidence on which to base a future strategy! So I was very keen that we took a more systematic approach to learning from our partners and was really glad to find a kindred spirit in the NMC's External Affairs Director Edward Welsh who'd already commissioned the research. 

Why are we asking?

The NMC is an organisation that doesn’t stand still.  Over the last year we have seen a lot of positive change with the introduction of nursing associates to our register, agreement of the Future Nurse standards and now consultation on the Future Midwife standards (ends 9 May), the establishment of the Public Support Service and piloting new ways of working in our Fitness to Practise procedures to name just a few. 

But as you may know from my recent blog we are also looking to the future with the development of our new strategy for 2020-2025. We are firmly committed to working in co-production with the public, the professionals on our register and our partners to develop the strategy.  Having insight into what these groups think is an important foundation for the work Candace Imison our new Director of Strategy Development and the NMC team are now undertaking.

What did we do?

We commissioned two types of research. These listened to the views of not just senior partners but also the public, patients and registrants to get a really rounded view of our organisation. We have now published the perceptions report where some of our most senior partners – including chief nursing officers, government policy makers, trade union representatives and leaders of organisations representing public and patients – were asked what they believe the NMC is doing well and where we need to improve.

The second piece of research which asked a much wider group of people will be published shortly so please keep your eyes peeled!

What did they say?

There’s a lot in the report, which I hope you will take the time to dip into, but a few main points I would pick out are:

  • Partners believe we need to continue focusing on being more transparent and open, as well as being more proactive in explaining our priorities.
  • The researchers concluded that our senior partners felt the NMC is on a positive, upward curve, and has been since 2012.
  • Partners are optimistic, but not yet convinced this upward curve will continue. They expect change to be maintained, as they should.
  • Communication must improve with all of those we come into contact with.
  • A strong message that the four countries dimension of our work needs to be a clear and unambiguous priority for us.
  • There was also a sense that we could do more with the role we have and the information we hold to influence the health and social care world and support nurses and midwives to deliver better, safer care.

My personal summary is that people are encouraged by what they are seeing but their confidence is fragile and we need to work hard to embed our new approach throughout the organisation so we can secure their trust for the future.  Publishing the report is a part of that.  One of the participants hoped that we would so that others could learn from the research and I am happy to do that.

What next?

I summed up my due diligence “as the NMC had challenges to address but a good foundation to build on” and the research has pretty much confirmed that (with lots more detail than I managed!)  I think all of us at the NMC can be proud of the positive change we’ve achieved so far, but there is so much more still to do.

This research will inform the development of the strategy but we are still keen to hear your views, so please have your say.

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