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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)

  • Someone pass the sick bowl?

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  • 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!

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  • Nursing must look 'in the mirror' to address care failings, CNO
    7 March, 2011 | By Sarah Calkin

    Have you read this and some of the offensive comments of our CNO, but she is obviously the jewel in Jenni Middleton's crown!

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  • Is that right Jenni, are you not of the medical fraternity?

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  • I did a leadership module recently and one of the elements considered to constitue good leadership was about being in contact with those you claim to be leading.
    I don't know about anyone else but I don't remember our CNO being in contact with the nursing community discussing the why's and wherefore's of what is happening at any given point.
    I don't feel inspired by someone at such distance. I may have missed something.

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  • Looking at the Retail Jeweller Magazine website, it looks very similar to the NT in design!! Me thinks that she is an editor/media person and not a nurse and that the NT's publishers have "moved" people around!

    Not good really! If nurses want a voice from NT then it should come from nurses, people who know the job and not sucking up to the CNO!!

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  • I have already noted my observations in previous comments that there is a distinction between NT which is described as a magazine and a professional journal. This has a very unfortunate influence on the quality of the articles published. The question also arises as why the editor demonstrates a constant need to have a photo of herself at the top of the webpage and whether this presents a good professional image to the current an a prospective readership?

    When a good clinical article does appear it is subscription only which is the publishers right but unlike professional journals there is no facility for the purchase of single articles often required by researchers. As a researcher on a tight budget I have to exclude all these articles, a few of which may have increased my knowledge base, as I am nowhere near a library and if I take out a subscription, I would give preference to a professional nursing or medical journal.

    Furthermore, in professional journals it is usual for the editorial board to publish a brief resume of their qualifications, background, experience and area of specialization. I have looked for this on several previous occasions when reading articles by them to question their connection to the nursing profession. On seeking clinical or other information from an article it is important to know the exact source and on whose authority the statements in it are written beyond merely a name or an editorial title.

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  • to finish my comment, it is not intended to be offensive to the editorial board but to express a need for a professional nursing journal for nurses run by nurses or at least editorial articles written by nurses.

    As mentioned on previous occasions it would be helpful to have an edit facility so that any errors in comments can be amended after they have been posted. c.f. Telegraph. Their reply is good too as it is easier to follow the threads of the arguments if one can respond directly to the person concerned. Recommend is useful in giving feedback for those who agree with your views and can save time if you do just wish to reinforce your views without adding more of your own. their system just makes the debates more readable and manageable.

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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 regret that I am not impressed by this or the presentation of the 'magazine'. The former Nursing Times was previously highly esteemed as top of its class of nursing journals and in my profession I need leading journals and not 'magazines'. When I read for leisure then I would prefer to choose from the huge range of leisure magazines in line with my personal interests.

    I also seem to recall in one of your former articles, which I do not have time to search for at the present moment, you referred to 'we' as if to imply you are a nurse. As I was unable to find your resume on the website, (which is usual practice for professional journals), for some reason I took it at face value that the current editor of the nursing times is a nurse and find it very disappointing that this is not so.

    This, and past experiences of reading nursing times has confirmed my suspicions that it is not a quality journal run by those with a deeper understanding of some highly complex nursing issues such as that which I require to advance my professional knowledge and practice.

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