A Code, not an enigma

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer England, looks ahead to tomorrow’s launch of the revised professional Code for nurses and midwives.

This year marks 33 years since I first joined the register of nurses and midwives, which is now regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and agreed to abide by the Code of professional standards of practice and behaviour.

Tomorrow marks a step change in our code, which will support revalidation.

The revision follows extensive consultation, as a response to changes and developments in practice, and wider expectations of health and care staff. The requirements apply not only to nurses and midwives involved in direct care-giving roles, but to all in leadership, education, research and policy.

The Code reflects the fundamentals of care which patients have told us they expect. The four themes are:

  • Prioritise people
  • Practice effectively
  • Preserve safety
  • Promote professionalism and trust

New sections include a focus on the professional duty of candour and a responsibility to raise concerns. This is timely, as whistleblowing has been the subject of considerable attention recently.

I encourage you to read and use the Code as a basis for your work and to see the revalidation requirements as a positive opportunity to consider how you are making continuous improvements in the quality and safety of care, and to support your ongoing development. Every day I see great examples of the difference our professions are making to so many, and how much this is appreciated. The revalidation exercise will enable us all to give this the thought and time it deserves. By preparing well, collecting evidence and reflecting on your 450 hours of practice and 40 hours of continuous professional development, you will see benefits for you, your colleagues and patients.

I endorse the revised Code not only as a nurse and Chief Nursing Officer for England, but because I see how the standards in it reflect the 6Cs and place patients, whom we are privileged to serve, at the heart of all we do.

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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  1. Michelle Churchard-Smith says:

    Great introduction to the new code; this code gives much clearer guidance to nurses and reflects modern nursing whatever the branch.

  2. creative anniversary says:

    You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the article you write.

    The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you
    who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe.

    Always follow your heart.

    • Karen L says:

      How is this going to be implemented? There are not enough NHS nurses on the wards now to ensure safe staffing, resulting in millions of pounds being wasted on agency fees. Not only does this demoralise the workforce, ( why spend 3 years at University, accrue, large debts take ward responsibility for patients, work over your hours only to find that the agency health care assistant is paid more than you and the trained agency nurse possibly double your wage )

      Where will the time come from to revalidate given the onerous time consuming tasks that it will entail. On top of everything else are we nurses being asked to do that in our own time as well?

      Will you Jane Cummings, NHS England, Jeremy Hunt and the NMC address the above. Reality needs to be faced.