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International Nurses Day 2018 is a chance to celebrate 70 years of amazing achievement

The Chief Nursing Officer for England thanks all nurses for their significant contribution in providing safe, effective, compassionate care for patients and those they care for, ahead of International Nurses Day on Saturday 12 May:

It fills me with pride when I see the fantastic work and world class care provided by nurses across the country and International Nurses Day (IND) is the perfect opportunity to recognise their amazing contribution to health and care globally.

A few months ago, we saw the launch of Nursing Now, an international campaign to recognise the vitally important role of nurses, addressing health and care challenges across the world. As you may know, Nursing Now aims to speak up for the nursing profession on an international stage, recognising our profession as a crucial part of improving the world’s health, as well as gender equality and economic development.

In England, nursing, midwifery and care staff continue to demonstrate their leadership and I am pleased to see an ever increasing number of examples of how front line staff are using our national framework, Leading Change, Adding Value (LCAV) to identify and reduce unwarranted variation and deliver against the triple aim outcomes of better outcomes, experiences and use of resources.

It was just a few days ago that we saw two nursing students lead and host a national twitter chat, highlighting the importance of LCAV, demonstrating their invaluable contribution to delivery of the Five Year Forward View, as well as national, regional and local transformation programmes of work. This year’s theme for IND, ‘Nurses: A voice to lead – healthcare is a human right’ is particularly aligned to our national framework.

In the context of leading change and recognising this work, there is a big anniversary taking place this year. It is 70 years since the foundation of the NHS, 70 years since our country made the bold decision to provide healthcare free at the point of need, regardless of the ability to pay. And 70 years of reflection on the hard work and dedication of our profession as the bedrock of the NHS.

The NHS is a marvellous achievement, a statement of civilisation, the institution of which British people are most proud and nursing remains the most trusted profession with 94 per cent of those surveyed trusting nurses above any other profession across the country.

This year’s anniversary provides an important opportunity to reflect but to look to the future too. International Nurses Day enables us to recognise and celebrate the skill, knowledge and significant contribution of nurses to the health and care system and one of the ways we are doing this in the next few months is through a number of events and opportunities to truly showcase the invaluable contribution that we bring to the NHS.

We will be hosting four regional conferences on 3 July, the week the NHS turns 70, providing an opportunity for all staff up and down the country and celebrate our achievements but more so to shape the future of our professions. Further information will be available in the coming weeks, but these events will enable nursing, midwifery and care staff to take part across the country through a live stream video link, in the same way that we launched LCAV in May 2016.

On the theme of workforce, I understand the real pressures you face, especially over the recent winter months. However, I continue to be amazed by the professional leadership, expert care and compassion that nurses display, day in, day out.

We know there are some colleagues who leave the profession to pursue other paths, and we wish them well. But young women and men are joining the profession every year and encouraging more to join and those we have to stay, is a massive priority.

I announced that NHS England has agreed to support a major recruitment and retention campaign for our professions as part of our plans to mark the NHS’s landmark 70th year at my CNO Summit in March this year.

The new campaign will spotlight the enormous contribution of nurses and midwives in the NHS now and over the last seven decades and will help to recruit and retain nurses, as well as showcase the fantastic range of opportunities that are available. It’s also a good opportunity to reference our national perceptions of nursing and midwifery work that aims to support both recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives. Our network of nursing and midwifery ambassadors are doing some fantastic work to address myths, stereotypes and negative perceptions of our professions. The next key milestone in this work takes place at RCN Congress in the next few days and I would encourage you all to find out more and get involved.

So thank you for the amazing and important care that you all provide. I look forward to celebrating our invaluable contributions over the course of this year and as we continue to lead, influence and innovate into the next 70 years. Please do get involved and contribute your reflections, innovations and leadership into this significant annual opportunity, using the hashtag #IND2018.

Jane Cummings

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

Jane specialised in emergency care and has held a wide variety of roles across the NHS 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.

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