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Our commitment to improve

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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Jane Cummings

Professor Jane Cummings is the Chief Nursing Officer for England and Executive Director at NHS England.

Before progressing into general management, Jane specialised in Emergency Care. She has held a wide variety of clinical and managerial roles including Director of Commissioning, Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Executive.

In February 2004, she became the National Lead for emergency care agreeing and implementing the 98% operational standard. She has also worked as the nursing advisor for emergency care. In January 2005, she was appointed as the National Implementation Director for ‘Choice’ and ‘Choose and Book’.

Jane moved to NHS North West in November 2007 where she held executive responsibility for the professional leadership of nursing, quality, performance as well as QIPP, commissioning and for a time Deputy Chief Executive Officer. In October 2011, she was appointed to the role of Chief Nurse for the North of England SHA Cluster.

She was appointed as Chief Nursing Officer for England in March 2012 and started full time in June 2012. Jane is the professional lead for all nurses and midwives in England (with the exception of public health) and published the ‘6Cs’ and ‘Compassion in Practice’ in December 2012, followed by publishing the ‘Leading Change, Adding Value’ framework in May 2016.

Jane has executive oversight of maternity, patient experience, learning disability and, in January 2016, became executive lead for Patient and Public Participation.

She was awarded Doctorates by Edge Hill University and by Bucks New University, and she is a visiting professor at Kingston University and St George’s University, London.

She is also Director and trustee for Macmillan Cancer Support and a clinical Ambassador for the Over the Wall Children’s Charity where she volunteers as a nurse providing care for children affected by serious illnesses.

Follow Jane on Twitter: @JaneMCummings.