When she was recovering from major surgery in 2010, and feeling abandoned by the nurses who were meant to be looking after her, Christina made a vow to do something about the state of nursing in Britain. She made a “Four Thought” for Radio 4, which is now being used as a teaching tool in hospitals and universities. She spent months looking into the state of nursing in Britain, trying to look beyond the anecdotes to the evidence. She talked to nurses, doctors, patients, managers and the under-secretary of state for health. She drew all this together for a special report in The Independent and i that ran, in April 2012, for a week. The paper ran leaders about it on the first and last day, and printed a page of readers’ responses. This was shortlisted for the Orwell prize 2013.
Christina has argued with the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing on the Today programme, is regularly invited to speak to nurses, trainee nurses and other NHS staff, has taken part in an ITV Tonight on the NHS, and has made a documentary about nursing for Radio 4, and a film about it for The One Show. She was also asked to do a guest blog for The King’s Fund, about the future of healthcare, which has had a bigger response than any blog they’ve published before. She is currently journalist in residence at the Department of Health and Social Care at the University of Surrey.
This work seems to have made a difference. In December 2012, the chief nurse for England announced a new strategy to put “compassionate care” at the heart of nursing, which echoes many of the points in Christina’s manifesto for change.