I am delighted that Jane Cummings, previously Director of Nursing at NHS North, has been appointed as Chief Nursing Officer on the NHS Commissioning Board. At the beginning of the year Viv Bennett, previously my Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, was appointed as Director of Nursing and Government Principal Advisor on Public Health Nursing at the Department of Health.
Viv’s focus at the Department will involve cross-government working and policy development for health and social care, as well as promoting the nursing contribution to the public’s health. Jane’s work with the NHS Commissioning Board will focus on commissioning, implementation, patient experience and safety. I am confident they will work together to strengthen nursing leadership across the whole of health system.
With my successors in post and ready to take up their new roles, this is my last CNO Bulletin before my retirement. It has been my great privilege to work with so many people throughout what has been a challenging, interesting, and rewarding career. From the most senior leaders, to new student nurses, patients and carers, many of you have inspired me, reinforcing core values that have endured over time, and which I see as ‘the constants’ of nursing.
Delivering good nursing care calls for an intellectual ability to combine technical and clinical competence with emotional awareness, an understanding of feelings and behaviours. Taken alone, these may each seem quite simple, but bringing them together in a way that achieves improved health outcomes for patients is complex and powerful. It forms the basis of a trusting relationship with patients and shapes public perceptions.
Patients know when they have good nursing care and when they do not. They want to feel safe, cared for, respected and involved. They want the nurse to be there for them at all stages of their lives, starting well, developing well, living well, working well, aging well, and at the end of their lives, dying well. At the most difficult times of their lives, times when they face loss, fear or pain, and at every stage, they want to be treated with compassion, dignity and respect.
Generally, the standard of nursing care is very high, but where it falls short, it has a marked impact on how patients experience the whole of their contact with the NHS. It is here we need to make improvements, and we need the right people to do this.
We have a great opportunity to engage the next generation of nurses with International Nurses Day in May. I would like to ask you to take the opportunity to share your pride in the profession with the public and celebrate your success. Make use of the resources from The Florence Nightingale Foundation and NHS Careers to arrange a school visit or local event to mark the occasion – celebrate the best in nursing with Britain’s Nurses.
For anyone who shares the values of nursing, cares about people, and who wants to make a real difference improving the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, nursing is a fantastic career and one I wholeheartedly recommend.
Chief Nursing Officer