We are human

April 2, 2015

‘When we were asked to answer the question ‘What is nursing?’ at university, we didn’t want to paraphrase definitions, resort to stereotype, or recite current legislation and campaigns. We are the nurses of tomorrow. We’re inquisitive, we’re creative and we wanted to be innovative and look to the future.  After much thought, it was decided that we all viewed nursing as intersubjective, and a partnership between the patient/client/service user and the nurse.


We concluded that in order to work effectively together, we would need to firstly understand each other. With this in mind, we set out on social media and asked patients directly what they needed from nurses, and in turn asked nurses directly what they needed from patients.  To our surprise, there was a distinct overlap of needs, with both parties saying that they needed Patience, Humour, Communication, Honesty, Understanding and a Smile.


We felt this provided a common ground between all fields of nursing, all kinds of patients, and in effect all human beings. This inspired our campaign name ‘We Are Human’.We wanted to promote a feeling of unity, community and togetherness to break down barriers and encourage a culture of openness, inclusion, equality and collaboration.


Our logo reflects this. It contains a blue finger print representing the individuality of every nurse, and a flesh toned fingerprint representing the individuality of every patient. The two combine to create a heart, which is in effect what unites us all. Caught up in the excitement of our findings, we then decided to make a campaign video. We recognised our own limitations and recruited experts in the form of film and media students.


We allocated each of the six needs identified to a field of nursing, with the patients covering the whole lifespan from infancy to the elderly. Patience was represented in Neonatal Nursing; Humour in Children’s Nursing; Communication in Learning Disability Nursing; Honesty in Adult Nursing; Understanding in Mental Health Nursing and, importantly, A Smile should be given to everyone.


Each one of our team was given the role of a nurse or a patient in the film. This allowed us to actively step into the shoes of other fields of nursing and patients and see the world through their eyes.


We created storyboards and linked each scenario to current issues to ensure they were relevant and understandable. For example the scene with the Learning Disability Nurse portrays identifying pain through communication and the Mental Health scene shows a confused patient with dementia being nursed with understanding and without stigma. The scene where the children’s nurse is upset portrays a colleague showing compassion and the final lift scene shows the children’s nurse on his way home after a long exhausting shift, who is cheered up by the original little girl he had made smile.


On this note, we think that the film shows that we truly believe that nursing is of mutual benefit to the patient and the nurse. It is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Nurses try their utmost best with what they have, and sometimes this isn’t enough, which has become evident in the current strains on A&E staff. What we all must understand is that although each one of is an individual, it is this individuality that unites us and makes us equal. We are human. We must now work together to achieve our shared needs and goals.’


For more details or to join the campaign please visit www.facebook.com/wearehuman2015

The We Are Human Team

Diane Malaugh
Rachael Scott
Billy Irvine
Louise Vallery​
Jennifer Finley
Emily Wrightson

Northumbria University, First Year Learning Disability Nursing Students.


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