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Child health matters remain low on the government agenda, and present reforms of the NHS are overtly concerned with financial aspects rather than the quality of care. Pediatric nurses must therefore become more assertive and pro-active in their role as advocates for children and their families. However, pediatric nurses are extremely fortunate in the UK because they have (a) a nurse education system that has always recognized that the nursing needs of children are different to those of adults. (b) the opportunity to work with medical and voluntary organizations committed to improving children's health, and (c) a professional organization that is not only large and powerful, but since 1984 has been committed to advancing the art and science of pediatric nursing. It employs a full-time adviser to assist its members and publishes the only pediatric nursing journal.
Pediatric nurses have assisted in advancing the art and science of pediatric nursing with caring for children and their families in a holistic fashion, with families supported and participating in their child's care. But there are still many opportunities to improve the quality of health care to children and their families.
Quality caring is what children and their families want and deserve, but is not as easy to measure as quantity care. At a time when in so many countries, health service managers concentrate on quantity, pediatric nurses must use every opportunity to shape the health policy of their nation for the benefit of children. We all live in interesting times and it would be interesting to see what we make of them on behalf of children.
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