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I’m wowed by the work we are doing

The new Chief Nursing Officer for England shares her early insights into the role and highlights the upcoming CNO Summit in March:

I officially started as Chief Nursing Officer on 7 January, and what a whirlwind first few weeks it’s been.

On my first day I went to Liverpool to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for the launch of the NHS Long Term Plan, as the nursing, midwifery and care professions have a huge opportunity to contribute to it and it will be a major focus for us.

I’ve also been doing lots of other visits, to see first-hand the commitment and care of our brilliant staff in different care settings. From Blackpool to Chelmsford and acute trusts to prison services, I have been shadowing our staff as they deliver care, and hearing their ideas for the future.

I’ve been wowed by the work people are doing, leading care in such varied and sometimes challenging settings.

As I carry out my first weeks as CNO, I really want to harness this sense of collective leadership and momentum, so we can empower our current generations of staff and inspire the future as we welcome and support more students and new roles, such as Nursing Associates, into our workforce.

Nursing, midwifery, AHP and care professions are some of the most fulfilling, varied and rewarding careers we can offer young people, and we will be continuing the great work of Nursing Now England to encourage pride in our professions and support recruitment and retention of our valued staff. Including how we inspire children in schools to look to a career in our professions.

On the 13 and 14 March, I will be hosting the annual Chief Nursing Officer Summit in Birmingham, where nursing, midwifery and care leaders will come together to have some important conversations about all of this and more. We’ll share experiences, including and most importantly hearing from our patients, reflect on our progress so far and consider the work we need to do next, in key areas including workforce, infection prevention and control, and maternity and children and young people.

Please register for the Summit here as we look forward to a fantastic two days of inspiring speakers and thought-provoking content, reflecting our pivotal role in delivering the NHS Long Term Plan and positioning our workforce for the future.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Ruth May

Ruth is the Chief Nursing Officer for England and an executive/national director at NHS England and NHS Improvement. She is also the national director responsible for infection prevention and control.

Ruth was appointed following her roles as Executive Director of Nursing at NHS Improvement, which commenced in April 2016, and Director of Nursing at Monitor, the healthcare sector regulator.

Prior to joining Monitor, she was Regional Chief Nurse and Nurse Director for the Midlands and East region of NHS England, where she championed the ‘Stop the Pressure’ campaign, which nearly halved the number of pressure ulcers in the region, improving care for patients, as well as delivering cost savings to the NHS.

Ruth is passionate about nurturing the next generation of NHS nursing, midwifery and AHP leaders, encouraging professional development opportunities and working across the health system to put in place the optimal cultural conditions for all NHS employees to thrive. This includes advocating for improved mental health awareness in the workplace, championing volunteer activity to support the frontline workforce and being a vocal supporter of the WRES agenda and increased diversity across the NHS.

Ruth began her career with a variety of nursing roles before becoming a theatre sister at Frimley Park Hospital. She was Acting Director of Nursing at Barnet Hospital before being appointed the substantive Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Executive with Havering Primary Care Trust.

In October 2005, she became Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, a post she held for two years. She has also been Chief Executive of Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust.

You can follow Ruth May on Twitter @CNOEngland with #teamCNO.

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