Latest newsletter for the public

Published on 10 March 2022

"I’m really passionate about making sure we recognise diversity"

Our latest newsletter for the public features a guest article by Bren McInerney, a member of the NMC Public Voice Forum. He has been volunteering in the community for more than two decades. Bren spoke to us about how he became involved with the NMC and health programmes more widely, and offered his advice for anyone interested in working alongside a health and care organisation.


How and why did you become involved with our organisation?

I was already aware of the NMC through my work as part of a task group setting up the People and Community Advocates Forum, which I chair. That’s a forum that’s working to incorporate the public voice into, and influence, the NHS National Community Nursing Plan 2021-2026.

But I began learning more about the NMC when Andrea Sutcliffe, the Chief Executive and Registrar, joined in 2019. For instance, I attended a couple of conferences she spoke at, including the Chief Nursing Officers’ for England Summit. Also, Andrea and I both used to work for the Care Quality Commission where I worked as a Specialist Advisor. We’d collaborated on a project called the Experts by Experience contract and also took part in a visit to local communities and neighbourhoods in June 2019.

I’m greatly influenced by the person who leads an organisation, their values and how they demonstrate those values. I agree with the NMC’s values of fairness, kindness, ambition and collaboration. So the organisation was one I wanted to get involved with.

Health and care professionals are so passionate about what they do – personal experience has shown me that. Nurses, midwives and nursing associates aren’t just carrying out a job, they really care about the people they look after. My sister’s a nurse in social care and she’s really dedicated to what she does. She always listens to residents and their loved ones, and delivers what matters most to them.

I recently joined the NMC’s Public Voice Forum. It brings members of the public together to share their views, experiences and expertise, to shape and inform the NMC’s work. It’s a great opportunity to promote and create awareness of the NMC’s role. So I hope my own experiences and opinions can help with this. It’s a great opportunity to challenge and support the NMC going forward.

How did you become involved with the Public Voice Forum?

I actually became aware of the Public Voice Forum while participating in a completely different group! Until that point, I’d never heard of it. After speaking to the public engagement team to find out more about what it would involve, I applied to take part.

In the first instance, I reached out to the NMC about joining the forum. But I think we need to promote it more widely so that more members of the public can apply and learn more about this organisation's work.

What sort of projects have you been involved in since you started working with us?

The Public Voice Forum is still relatively new, so I’ve only attended one meeting so far. That meeting offered a bit more background to the NMC. As the forum progresses, I hope there’ll be a range of topics the public can offer their view on. I’m looking forward to helping the organisation to scope their work with the public in mind.

When I’m not working with the NMC, I take part in other health and care related activities. For example, I’ll soon be speaking to student nurses at the University of Gloucestershire. I’ll be able to share my experiences of working with the NMC and on the NHS National Community Nursing Plan. It will also be really valuable for me to hear from nursing and midwifery students about what matters to them. It’s invaluable and something I can share with the NMC and other health organisations.

Why do you think it’s so important to get involved in these forums?

I want to use my knowledge and experience to advocate for communities who might find it difficult to navigate their way through the health and care service. I’m also really passionate about making sure we recognise diversity.

I’m currently supporting a community led peer mentoring programme that offers opportunities for local NHS Executives to better understand and act on the expertise and knowledge from minority ethnic communities. I’m also really privileged to be a part of the NHS Race and Equality Observatory Stakeholder engagement group which is looking to reduce inequalities within the NHS.

I want to support the NMC’s work to address inequalities towards professionals and service users. It must be a thread that runs through all of the NMC’s work.

What do you enjoy about working with us?

I love working with different communities. Diversity’s a fact and inclusion is a choice. Individuals and organisations should always choose to include members of the public in the things they do, no matter what walk of life they come from. It’s a matter of kindness. Sometimes you don’t know if you’ve made an impact. But you know that you’ve given your time and energy to try and make a positive difference.

What advice would you give to other members of the public who are interested in engaging with health organisations?

Everyone’s got a lived experience they can contribute to these working groups. But you need to make sure you can dedicate the time. It’s also important to understand what an organisation will need from you. Do you share the organisation’s values, for example?

Engaging with organisations in this way is a great opportunity for members of the public to offer their views and to help shape projects and programmes of work. But don’t forget to look around the room to see who’s not there. We need to make the public voice as wide-ranging and diverse as possible.

What else can I expect when I read the public newsletter?

You can also read a guest article by Cristina Diaz, a Public Support Specialists. Cristina explained what the Public Support Service does and what her team have been working on over the past few months. She also told us about a new advocacy support service for those who need help communicating during the Fitness to Practise process.

You’ll also find news on the findings from our post-registration consultation, and our updated equality, diversity and inclusion plan. There’s also an article explaining the role of the NMC’s Public Voice Forum and why the public voice is so important in helping to shape health and care services.

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