It’s great to see the new edition of Tim McDougall’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health published today.
Tim’s always on top of his game and is widely published, and this edition is thoroughly updated – all you need to know about the mental health of children and young people and how it is delivered in a contemporary and fluid environment.
I was hugely flattered when Tim invited me to contribute a chapter to this latest edition. My chapter – The Nurse as Entrepreneur – challenges us to think about the role of nurses and the part they play in innovation and developing good practice. In particular it looks at what drives nurses, what gets them up in the morning, what are the characteristics of entrepreneurship that are evident in the nursing profession, and how systems need to change in order to support innovative practice within the NHS. In other words – considering the nurse as an intrepreneur – with entrepreneurial characteristics and the ability to contribute to change within large systems.
It also examines the wider ‘market’ for both intrepreneurial and entrepreneurial skills and challenges the standard NHS environment to step up to the plate and become more flexible – more fleet-of-foot – in how not only demands change, but how it embeds change and innovation in standard environments. Asking nurses to develop new models of practice requires the nursing environment to acquire, internalise and embed its understanding of their role in determining the impact of innovation on the system as well as the patient. For it is only when the characteristics of entrepreneurship are supported within systems that we can be sure that short term change will impact on long-term and improved outcomes for our patients. In other words there must be a natural fit between the characteristics of innovation and entrepreneurship in nurses and the systems that support good practice. To ignore this is to risk losing our skilled intrepreneurs to the wider market that is less risk-averse.