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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)

  • brasseye | 14-Mar-2011 4:27 pm

    I wrote the two comments below. You seem to have misread the first one as nowhere does it mention the background of the editor. I am making the point that professionals need information which is scientifically based and accurate which I think is quite clear.

    My second comment however is rather unfortunate as I wished to edit the first one and add the phrase "...that information has to be 100% reliable and safe for the patients and all concerned as well."

    As I was unable to edit my comment after submitting it I tried to ammend it below where I should have written;

    '... as one cannot edit..' instead of "as you cannot edit" which is open to misinterpretation and looks as though I was directing my comment at the editor, in view of the content of other comments. I have already suggested in an e-mail to the editors that a facility would be useful as exists on other websites so that one can edit one's comments after they have been submitted.

    I hope this might clear up any misunderstanding.

    Anonymous | 11-Mar-2011 1:44 pm

    "... 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.

    Anonymous | 11-Mar-2011 1:45 pm

    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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  • It's a "magazine" which tries to inform. like everything you read in any "magazine" you need to formulate & analyse what is being said and then decide on your own opinions. If you read the The Sun/Daily mail/Mirror but expect The Times/Guardian/Telegraph then more fool you.
    Here's an idea; if you don't like the magazine then stop reading it! Seems simple to me.

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  • Anonymous | 15-Mar-2011 9:14 am

    it is about time nursing became an all degree profession to avoid pointless comments such as these

    if you have nothing constructive to say you are not obliged to waste space writing a comment!

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  • Can I ask what was pointless about the previous comment? It appeared to me to be making a point that this journal is light reading and should be taken as such. It appeared to be constructive in saying that if you do not agree with the editor's ability to write the orignal article and do not like the journal's content than don't read it. It was done simply, not writing reams saying the same thing; to the point
    I have a degree but this in no way makes me feel that my point is more valid than anyone else's. I am open to all points of view. I hope this is constructive enough.

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  • "...this journal is light reading and should be taken as such.."

    light reading? with information which is supposed to inform nursing care which is quite a serious issue?

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  • It is good that Jenni is an editor, she does not need to be a nurse and clearly with so many comments, she is successful in operating a media site for nurses.

    I don't think nursing times counts as a scientific journal, it is a magazine for nursing issues and debate and I think it is good for that. Journals exist if you want scientific articles and the use of each is allowed!

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  • "light reading? with information which is supposed to inform nursing care which is quite a serious issue?"

    I like the Nursing Times as easy to read and I can do it in my break time. I like reading others points of view; some I agree with & some I don't. Put for me, degree or no degree, everyone's point is valid.
    However if I want something to inform my nursing care then I'm afraid I would need more that just the Nursing Times. So yes, it is light reading.

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  • I have not had time to read every single message so apologise if my comments are duplicated. I'd just like to make a point or two based on my own observation and experience as a 57 year old who trained initially as an SEN in the 70s and incapable of passing A levels.

    One is that I get frustrated with journals like the BMJ, and even PULSE because they are self-back patting publications because there is little or no alternative view to those who write for/in them, or so it appears.

    Another, is I was a 'heretic' in nursing from the start. There seems an ethos in nursing that if one thinks differently, then somehow we don't care or don't understand. I found this because I actually liked, and could see an advantage in Information Technology. Because I was an SEN I was often deemed to lack a higher level of understanding. I even failed one module because my 'vision' was not shared by the markers. (I feel smug now!)

    I think it is good for all professions to welcome an 'outsiders' view from an educated stance. Sometimes people outside 'the profession' can actually have more empathy than some of those within it. In fact they can bring something to it rather than miss that which those within think only they can see (If that isn't double Dutch?)

    As for degrees, I am suspicious and frustrated because I have one degree and a compliation that amounts to another, yet I have a learning difficulty that almost prevented me from upgrading to RGN. I am an advocate for multiple intelligence and that having emotional intelligence, spatial intelligence needs to be a balance, and that only marking on academic intelligence is a BIG mistake.
    I still think my new vision has not yet been recognised but live in hope.

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  • I have no problem with NT being edited by a non-nurse - it was ever thus. I do, however, take issue with the current CNO and agree with the lack of communication with nurses per se.

    I also strongly believe that the quality of NT as a professional 'magazine' has deteriorated not only under Jenni's watch but over the last 10 yrs or so. It was indeed a respected magazine once upon a time but now .............

    Suffice it to say I no longer subscribe.

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  • I would request that Ms Middleton didn't use the term 'we' when referring to the nuring profession. The only people entitled to use that are retired nurses, registered nurses, student nurses, and healthcare assistants.

    Nursing Times has not been seen as a valid source of reference for a number of years. At university we were told that where possible we should avoid articles from NT as they would not be seen as that credible.

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