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


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.


Readers' comments (40)

  • "shafted's comment 8-Mar-2011 7:31 pm

    Jenni Middleton was - until very recently - the Editor of Retail Jeweller Magazine which may explain her position regarding the incumbent CNO ie she hasn’t got a clue what she’s talking about!"

    Although (as I pointed out earlier) Jenni may not be a nurse and she may well be blind to our CNO's shortcomings, I like NT: I like its format and I like that the articles are presented in a way that make them accessible to all. The NT may well not be BJN, but so what? If I wanted to read the BJN then I’d buy it. I’ve been around long enough to know that most research should be taken with a pinch of salt. I always find commonsense nursing beats ‘evidence-based’ hands down every time.

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  • nursing has changed and as well as being an art it must have a reliable scientific base. in order to nurse effectively we need to be informed by articles that are well researched and have sound methodology and valid appraisal. This is only to be found in quality professional journals run by healthcare professionals and not in chatty girlie magazines.

    It also appears that nurses need to be educated to degree level to receive the training required to correctly analyse, interpret and implement research findings which will improve practice.

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  • "It also appears that nurses need to be educated to degree level to receive the training required to correctly analyse, interpret and implement research findings which will improve practice."

    As there is no facility for editing comments once they have been submitted, I would like to amend my above comment, to suggest that there are strong arguments for educating future nurses to degree level...etc."
    as it is not my intention to discriminate against those who currently do not have degrees, many of whom are experienced and excellent nurses who may not need a degree to do their job effectively. However, it is a question of moving with the times into a new era when all nurses, if there are no dramatic changes, will all have degrees.

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  • I have no views on the main subject of this debate. I do however think it most unfortunate that of all the people who have commented on this article and the subsequent debate, the only one who had the courage to put their name to what they said was the author of the original article.

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  • This has nothing to do with courage. There is an option to submit comments anonymously which some commentators have chosen to use and exercise their right of anonymity. If this is unacceptable then it should be removed but this may discourage some from expressing their opinions freely and narrow down the wide variety of view points expressed, giving a more biased view on certain issues.

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  • Paul Matheson | 14-Mar-2011 9:20 am

    The debate here is about the article and not on the right to exercise anonymity or not. If it is a problem, maybe it should be taken up elsewhere. there is also the option of using a pseudonym but this does not reveal the identity of the commentator either. the only advantage of this is that it is easier to follow the tread of the argument as one can attribute the comments to each 'name' used.

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  • You say in your article - 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.

    I wasn't aware MRSA had been eradicated?

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  • I really look forward to reading the editor's comments, and they're always the most popular thing on the site. Let's give her a break!

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  • fine if they are well informed.

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  • MillerT

    11 Mar 1:44pm rather misses the point - along with several others. The editor is responsible for driving and directing the title. The background shouldn't come into it and the manner of some comments here is shameful.

    It is absolutely right that an editor is concerned with collecting and producing content in a way that gets people reading, and making sure that content is valuable to its audience. Undoubtedly Nursing Times' content has been and continues to be just that, and furthermore, remains respected and required. The sweeping claim at 1:44pm 11 March that the editor's background renders the entire magazine suddenly "of little use" is laughable.

    The criticisms of the NT style in comparison with 'professional journals' - something which it does not pretend to be - are unfair also. If those readers are so sure of the things NT isn't, they are surely also bright enough to know that there exist other titles that do cater for different needs in the medical profession.

    The magazine provides for a wide-ranging and passionate audience and does it extremely well. Those who have enjoyed the freedom to express their displeasure about this article alongside the original piece should know better than to too harshly dimiss different opinions.

    Of coruse, whether those opinions are "Well informed", above, is a matter for debate also, as it seems that being well informed is something lacking from many of the dissenters' grasp of the fundamentals required to successfully edit a leading nursing title.

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