Launched in February 2018, Nursing Now — a global initiative to celebrate nurses and midwives and acknowledge their contributions to world health care — has been embraced by over 80 countries around the world. The three-year international awareness campaign, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses, aims to raise the profile and status of nursing.
As the lead organization for Nursing Now in Australia the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) was proud to collaborate with the other major nursing organisations in Australia to launch the Nursing Now Australia Challenge Calendar. Each month, present a challenge that’s innovative and impactful (and fun!) and supports the objectives of the campaign. The May Challenge, which was to ‘Host an ACN National Nurses Breakfast or other event to celebrate International Nurses Day’ inspired nurses around the country to take time out to celebrate their profession.
For the month of June, we’re challenging members of the nursing community to include their title, qualification and membership post-nominals in their email signature and social media bio. (Eg: Jane Smith BN, RN, MACN). Are you wondering what this has to do with ‘raising the status of nurses’? In a nutshell, everything.
Post-nominals are used to indicate that an individual holds an office, honour or a position. For example, someone awarded the Member of the Order of Australia would use ‘AM’, a member of Parliament would use ‘MP’, and a doctor or lawyer might use ‘MD’ or ‘LLM’, respectively. Post-nominals are used to indicate an educational degree too, such as ‘PhD’ for Doctor of Philosophy or MSc for Master of Science. In some professions this is common practice. You are probably used to seeing the post-nominals MD FRACGP when visiting your GP or the post-nominals CPA on your accountant’s business card. Our profession has not widely adopted this and it’s time that changed.
So, why use post-nominals? In most cases, especially in a professional setting, it could be relevant to convey your qualifications through your post-nominals. For instance, within an unfamiliar clinical setting, it would be beneficial for others to know your areas of expertise through knowing your qualifications. Basically, a post-nominal clarifies your knowledge, skills, experience and commitment to continuing professional development and is therefore, good practice to include in your signature.
But there’s another reason why nurses and nursing professionals should include these titles in their names. That reason is: pride! In the daily rush of caring for others, nurses and midwives often forget that they are at the heart of improving global health and consequently, nations’ economic growth. They forget about the countless sacrifices they make in looking after the health and well-being of the community. They forget that they are everyday leaders who effect changes in the way nations implement health care. So, why should you incorporate your post-nominals in your name? Because it’s something to be proud of, all day, every day. And to convey that pride to others around you, whether it’s patients, peers or your family.
It’s another way nurses and health care professionals can raise the status and profile of nursing, another way to showcase our education and professionalism and recognise all that they do for communities all over the world. Your title is a badge of honour, wear it with pride and encourage your fellow nurses to do the same.