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 enjoyed national appointments with NHS Improvement and Monitor, as well as regional and trust leadership roles, before becoming the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England in January 2019.

In June 2022, as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Honours, Ruth was awarded a DBE for her services to nursing, midwifery and the NHS since she started her nurse training in 1985. Upon receiving her Damehood, Ruth recognised the expertise of nursing and midwifery colleagues in caring for people at every stage of their lives and the vital role that the professions and care staff played during the pandemic. Ruth has led the nursing, midwifery and care professions’ response to COVID-19 in England and led collaborative work with UK CNO colleagues, the NMC and trade unions to ensure agreement and consistent messaging on key issues.

She is passionate about nurturing the next generation of NHS nursing and midwifery leaders and encouraging professional development opportunities. This includes advocating for improved mental health awareness, championing volunteer activity to support the frontline workforce, and she is a vocal supporter of the WRES agenda and increased diversity across the NHS.

Proud mum to her wonderful daughter, Ruth is a great believer in a healthy professional and home life balance for all.

Find Ruth on Twitter @CNOEngland / #teamCNO.

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