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Transforming perceptions of nursing and midwifery on a whole new level

The Chief Nursing Officer for England reflects on the launch of the next important phase of activity in the national perceptions of nursing and midwifery work and encourages nurses and midwives to get involved in and support twelve 30 day challenges.

Earlier today, I was absolutely delighted to launch the first ever virtual hackathon as part of our important national perceptions of nursing and midwifery work.

Together with a fantastic number of nurses at RCN Congress in Belfast, more than 500 nurses and midwives virtually joined together from locations across the country to innovatively come up with solutions to some common challenges that we face. Their challenge over the next two days is to produce a simple video on their phone, tablet or other device based on one of the following questions:

  • How do we ensure nursing and midwifery expertise is at the heart of shaping future healthcare policy?
  • How do we get the media to reflect and promote nursing and midwifery as desirable professions? or
  • What systems and/or networks could we build to improve the way nurses and midwives connect, communicate, share and learn from each other?

The ‘virtual hackathon’ builds on the face to face hackathons that thousands of nurses, midwives, and students from across the country have been involved in. The quality of the ideas and the energy for change during these events has been outstanding. Now we are taking this hackathon approach to a whole new level of engagement – by making it virtual.

The hackathon will provide an amazing learning opportunity for all taking part, led by Helen Bevan and her team at NHS Horizons, providing direct support and coaching for all the local teams that have signed up to the virtual hackathon today and tomorrow.

The specific skills they will learn as a result of the hackathon are all skills that we need in the confident, influential, digital-savvy nursing workforce of the future.

As a result of taking part, they will be able to use their learning to add to their portfolio, which will ultimately contribute to their professional revalidation.

At the end of the two days, the winning team will not only be equipped with new skills and knowledge to support them on their journey to tackle myths and stereotypes and improve perceptions, they will also be supported to travel to London on a mutually convenient day, to have a tour of parliament, have a face to face coaching session with myself as CNO for England, and other senior leaders and feature in an article written about their work at the virtual hackathon for the nursing media and a blog for the NHS England website.

I am absolutely thrilled with the number of nurses and midwives that have contributed to the perceptions of nursing and midwifery work so far. More than 240 nursing and midwifery ambassadors from all regions across the country have already started to share their inspiration, positive stories and narrative with their colleagues, peers, children and young people, professionals, MPs and politicians.

I was also pleased to announce the launch of a series of twelve 30 day challenges.

From June 2018 until May 2019, there will be one challenge per month, with each challenge built on feedback and ideas contributed by thousands of nurses, midwives, and patients gathered on our crowdsourcing platform.

The challenges are designed to generate a sense of national energy, camaraderie, and support. The challenges are also designed in this way to enable individuals and local teams to be involved and to interpret the challenges in ways that are meaningful and relevant to them.

Nurses and midwives already have so much talent, passion, and potential – the idea behind the challenges is to enhance these skills, build on the potential – and make sure the rest of the world know about them.

The 12 challenges range from writing a blog to showcase and celebrate our nursing and midwifery professions, which also ties in nicely with our #70nursebloggers and #70midwifebloggers initiative I launched a few weeks ago, through to mentoring a junior colleague, student nurse or midwife or even reverse mentoring a senior nurse or midwife. The first challenge is an important one and encourages nurses and midwives to join up to the 30 day challenge series, becoming an ambassador for the programme, if they aren’t already.

Please do take time to read and think about the 30 day challenges and I encourage you all to sign up to them to demonstrate your leadership and support for our perceptions campaign.

I continue to be proud of all nursing, midwifery and care staff across the country and would like to take this opportunity to wish all our hackathon teams the very best and I look forward to seeing your ideas, energy and enthusiasm on twitter. Even if you are not taking part in a virtual team, you can still get involved and follow the discussion on twitter, using the hashtags #FutureNursing and #FutureMidwifery.

Thank you for everything you continue to do to help improve perceptions of our fantastic professions.

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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