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CNO to enrol 14 trusts on global nursing excellence scheme

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The chief nursing officer for England has announced plans to put 14 NHS trusts through an internationally-recognised programme that aims to create a positive working environment for nursing staff.

Dr Ruth May said she wanted trusts to take part in the Pathway to Excellence scheme to help create a culture where nursing and midwifery professionals at all levels were involved in the decision-making process, ensuring ”collective ownership” in developing and improving practice.

“The Pathway to Excellence programme is recognised globally as enabling nursing excellence”

Dr Ruth May 

The programme is run by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and requires organisations to meet six pathway standards deemed to be essential in creating excellent nurse working conditions.

To receive Pathway to Excellence accreditation, organisations must show how they involve staff nurses in decision-making and have effective leaders who advocate for and are accessible to those on the frontline. 

In addition, they must prove that they have policies in place that keep nurses and patients safe, protect the wellbeing of their nursing staff and provide them with opportunities to professionally develop.

Support from NHS England on behalf of Dr May will allow up to 14 organisations to undertake the Pathway to Excellence programme.

England’s regional chief nurses are currently considering which trusts should be invited to apply to take part in the first national cohort.

NHS England expects to be able to reveal the successful trusts at the end of August 2019.

The announcement comes after Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust because the first in the UK to sign up to the scheme in 2016.

The trust subsequently confirmed in November last year that it had achieved accreditation.

According to NHS England, the programme had delivered “impressive results” at the trust, including reductions in registered nursing vacancy rates, pressure ulcer rates and nursing complaints.

The trust had also seen “substantial improvement” in its national inpatient survey results.

Dr May said the Pathway to Excellence programme aligned with her national vision to establish an England-wide collective leadership model.

“One of my key priorities as CNO is to empower all nurses, midwives and care staff to be involved in shared decision-making and collective leadership within their organisations,” she added.

“Every single one of us has experience and influence that can be used to effect change and to contribute to delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

“The Pathway to Excellence programme is recognised globally as enabling nursing excellence, instilling a strong sense of professional pride and offers proven strategies to help ensure that the care that we deliver to our patients and populations is of the highest calibre.”

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