David Scott and Debi Evans spend an uplifting hour in the company of the Nurse who Asks Questions.
“Am I am conspiracy theorist or do I just see things differently”? This is the question that Jenna Platt, RGN RMN, an NHS-trained nurse, poses to all those who are keen to call her a conspiracy theorist when she simply poses a perfectly reasonable question. Desperate to make a difference and to ask those questions, Jenna literally went the extra mile to stand up for truth, kindness and answers.
Walking totally alone, 150 miles from her home in Stoke-on-Trent, in uniform, during lockup (lockdown to some) to deliver a letter personally to the Prime Minister, prepared to lose everything including her business, home and security in order to ask the questions most were too frightened to ask; fearless and in plain sight, Jenna arrived safe and sound in Downing Street to deliver her letter. Shockingly, on arrival, she was not allowed to pass her letter to the police guarding the gates, and had to walk to a postbox to post it.
At great cost to herself and her husband, Jenna has walked the walk and talked the talk with great success. She describes how she relied on the kindness and generosity of total strangers to keep her going and to keep her safe. Smuggled into people’s homes, scared to be seen by police or neighbours, Jenna came to depend on connecting with her supporters, who were offering sofas and beds for the night—risking not only Jenna’s safety but their own.
Is coercion caring? Have nurses become seduced by the public’s affirmation and admiration of them, or have they, unbeknown to themselves, been ‘nudged’ away from their Code of Conduct? Alarmed at the hostility she was receiving, Jenna was puzzled as to why her colleagues were angry: all she was doing was following the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Professional Code of Conduct. How could they be riled at that?
Challenging the NMC, Jenna hand-delivered a letter highlighting all the breaches of the Code of Conduct that she was aware of. Arranging a nurses' meet during lockdown, Jenna risked a £10,000 fine. A clear conscience was more important to her than her bank balance. With little to gain and all to lose, Jenna continues on her campaign to ask the questions all nurses are trained to ask. Looking back over the lockdown process, Jenna still finds it hard to comprehend that she was having to behave like a convict on the run, just to deliver a letter to the head of government. After all we live in a democratic free society, don't we?
Together with her utterly supportive husband, Jenna has trailblazed her way with quiet dignity, wisdom, honesty and kindness. Despite being under investigation from the NMC, Jenna is not scared or worried: she calmly quotes her professional code of conduct at gainsayers. No nurse can argue with that. Jenna isn’t just a nurse: she’s a real nurse, gentle, humble and kind. Who could imagine the situation, in the United Kingdom in 2021, that a gentle nurse would consider purchasing a stab vest?
But amidst the chaos, tyranny and hostility, Jenna has made many new friends, gained many supporters, and has received huge respect from those who appreciate her altruism and compassion. Nurses are trained to observe, trained to comfort, trained to care. Currently, there are many nurses who insist on remaining in the NHS and the care sector, to keep their patients safe and to care for them as if they were one of their own families.
However, some of those remaining are not caring for their patients in accordance with the NMC Code of Conduct. Quite the opposite, they are contravening the very Code they promised to keep. She describes how many nurses see her uniform and approach her, whispering ‘Well done’ and ‘Thank you’ in her ear, before disappearing back into the shadows, scared to be seen. Her message to all nurses and care workers is: Can you sleep at night knowing you have followed your professional code of conduct, or do you feel as though you have been ‘nudged’, coerced or bullied, and do you appear to have drifted away from all you were trained to follow?
Jenna Platt can be found releasing her latest podcasts here. Currently, she is studying for a degree in Transactional Analysis and is writing a book. Jenna’s story is so remarkable that we will be hearing much for from her in the near future. If you see Jenna out and about, please give her a smile and a few words of encouragement. They cost nothing and mean a great deal.
“I am on a journey of unlearning, learning and forming educated opinions, not simply repeating what I have heard.” Jenna Platt RGN RMN — to which we could add TLC (Tender Loving Care) and DNH (Do No Harm).