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OPINION

'It’s a triumph to have two nurse leaders at top level'

  • 40 Comments

So the nursing world now knows for definite what we’ve hoped for, and speculated about during the past few months.

Come October there will be two senior nursing roles once the chief nursing officer for England permanently steps down. Dame Christine Beasley, the current CNO, announced at the Nursing Times Summit last week that her role will be replaced by a post on the commissioning board as well as another senior nursing post in the department of state, looking after public health.

It is a true testament to the strength Dame Christine has shown in representing nursing that we now have two senior nursing posts influencing policy and provision of nursing care at the very top level. Were a lesser CNO to have been handling the negotiations about how to represent nursing in this new landscape, we may well have seen just one role, or even none at all.

It is also a real triumph that nursing isn’t scrabbling around at the back of the class like an unwanted schoolchild who is last to be picked for the football team. Instead, as Dame Christine said, these nursing roles are the first to be announced in this reorganisation - nursing has made its mark on the new, yet unchartered map, and we have Dame Christine and her network of nurses to thank for placing the profession high up the agenda.

It’s unsurprising really, as Dame Christine has shown throughout her time at the Department of Health that nursing does have a vital part to play in shaping as well as delivering patient care. From her handling of the MRSA and healthcare-associated infection crisis at the start of her tenure in 2004, right through to the professional leadership programme that she will look after until she bows out this autumn, she has epitomised what we mean when we ask for strong nurse leadership.

There are challenges ahead, but there are also opportunities to showcase the invaluable skills of nurses, and move the profession forward rather than dwell in the past.

  • 40 Comments

Readers' comments (40)

  • Furthermore, unless the nurses in the editorial team are also employed in front line nursing posts as well they cannot possibly be fully informed of current practice and this is apparent in some of the 'entertaining' ideas that have appeared as subjects of the articles!

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  • "... it's about the presentation being readable and useful to you, the content and the overall feel of the magazine."

    Jenni, this of little use to professionals if the information is not scientifically based or accurate.

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  • as you cannot edit, I should add to the above, that information has to be 100% reliable and safe for the patients and all concerned as well.

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  • Jenni Middleton

    It's absolutely true that I don't have a nursing background, and that I am a journalist - just like many of my predecessors who have edited this title – and who have been very successful at it. And whom I – and many other nurses – greatly admire. I have made no secret of that fact and wrote that in my very first editorial comment on this site. There are nurses on my editorial team, and I speak to nurses daily about the issues affecting them, as well as visiting and talking to nurses every week, and we have an editorial advisory board made up of people from the profession to guide our decisions. Most of the magazine is written by nurses and edited by nurses and double-blind peer reviewed by nurses. We couldn't put out a nursing title without the input of nurses, and we value that greatly.
    My role is different though. It's about information gathering, sourcing opinion and putting together all of this in an information package - it's about the presentation being readable and useful to you, the content and the overall feel of the magazine. I have edited magazines about paint chemistry, beauty, computers, and yes, jewellery and nursing. That may seem odd to you, but it's really very common that journalists bring their transferable skills to different markets and different professions.
    As for my comments about the CNO, I stand by them that it's fantastic that we are the first to have the posts sorted out - and that we have two senior nursing roles is tremendous. And Chris Beasley did an awful lot to eradicate MRSA, which you don't need to be a nurse to know is a good thing. Of course, that is my personal view and you are all welcome to disagree, in fact I love it when you do and you debate with us and challenge us. That said, I don't think that my opinion is "wrong because I am not a nurse" because I've spoken to lots of nurses about this (many at the Summit last week and the Patient Safety Awards this week) and those nurses are delighted that we have two posts, and feel that the CNO has contributed to the raising of nursing's profile among the corridors of power in Whitehall.

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  • I really like NT - it's one of a few nursing magazine/journals I read fairly often. Wonder what the anti-Nursing Times people are doing on its website?

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  • Jenni Middleton

    The articles are written by frontline nurses, all in practice, all working now. The clinical content is of the same level it always was and is still double-blind peer reviewed. I have not changed that as I spoke to so many nurses who all told me it was of value. And of course, I recognise that.
    The magazine is not about style over substance, we put in lots of time working on the content, themes and commissioning relevant, up-to-date information and articles. But it's human nature that unless something is presented in a palatable form, people just won't read it. Luckily there are readers who do appreciate the changes and the journal/magazine/title (it tries to be useful to all nurses) have told me this is the case. But if you have any constructive feedback about the presentation, or have looked at a recent issue and have comments about the standard of articles, then, as ever, do feel free to email me on jenni.middleton@emap.com.

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  • Anonymous | 11-Mar-2011 2:10 pm

    like all things it is a matter of opinion which everybody has a right to express. its usefulness depends on the nurses role and intellectual needs.

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  • see how it compares with its competitors such as the Nursing Standard and the British Journal of Nursing, etc.

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  • Thankyou for clearing the matter up Jenni. For my part would have preferred honesty from the outset, as I also presumed by your use of 'we' that you were a nurse or had nursing background. It makes a difference.

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  • there is currently a considerable quantity of conflicting and confusing and inaccurate reports on medical and healthcare research and other topics in the media written by those with the title of medical journalist/correspondent who are in fact laymen. This is misleading to the public who do not always possess the necessary skills to interpret of verify the quality of the information which could, in some cases, cause risks to their health.

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