Our commitment to improve – Jane Cummings

I want to use my position a Chief Nurse for England to make a positive difference: for patients and for our profession. We have an opportunity to shape the way nurses and midwives work in the future so that we can care for our patients with compassion and dignity, while confidently working with the latest technology to help us do our work better. At the same time, we need to build the profession so that we win respect for carrying out complex jobs and the hard work we do. This is why I have started work on a new vision for nursing, something I hope will support nurses and midwives everywhere to improve the care we give our patients as well as building strength into our profession.

My starting point for this work is the five areas I think define good nursing. I call these the five Cs. We show care and compassion in how we look after patients; we find the courage to do the right thing, even if that means standing up to senior people to act for the patient’s best interests in a complex and pressured environment; we demonstrate commitment to our patients and profession and finally we make sure we communicate at all times.

I believe these five areas define nursing as a profession and by focusing on these values, we can achieve our aims of improving care for our patients and strengthening the profession. For instance, I think a good nurse will show care and compassion to his or her patients, but also demonstrate care for a colleague who is having a difficult day. Supporting colleagues is important because nursing is a hard job, and we do have tough days. But, we cannot let our patients down because we are distracted so we need to look after each other as colleagues, so that we can give the best care to our patients So good patient care and experience is also dependent on good staff care and a positive workplace experience.

To help me develop the vision and most importantly how we are going to involve as many nurses as possible in this, I asked a group of nurse leaders to spend time thinking through some of the issues around nursing and midwifery. Among these issues are getting staffing right and staff experience. I’ll be able to give you more details about how we will go about building this vision soon. My ambition is to involve as many nurses, midwives and health care assistants so that we can build on their experience and use their ideas.  I know from the enthusiasm and energy of this landmark meeting that there is a commitment to improve from nurses and midwives everywhere.

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