I am often asked why I chose to be a nurse, what it’s really like and what I would say to someone thinking about taking up a career in nursing. For me it was very much a personal experience. As a teenager my Mum was in hospital quite a lot; I used to go and visit her and watch what the nurses did on the ward.
I saw first-hand their impact, expertise and knowledge when caring for patients. Subsequently I volunteered in the local hospital and made the decision to be a nurse. In nearly 40 years working as a nurse in the NHS, I have never regretted that decision and I’ve seen the rich and rewarding career opportunities it can offer.
As the NHS turns 70, we are paying tribute to its greatest asset – the amazing individuals who treat and care for us all. Over the last seven decades, nurses and midwives have been on hand to provide treatment and care during the most precious and vulnerable times in our lives, supporting the NHS to treat more than one million patients every 24 hours across the country.
As one of the world’s largest employers, it is vital that we inspire young people to come and work for us to sustain the NHS for another 70 years. To support this, I am delighted that NHS England is leading a major recruitment campaign marking the NHS’s landmark 70th year, which will
spotlight the enormous contribution of nurses and midwives in the NHS. It will look at the wide-ranging career opportunities in the 21st century in a drive to recruit and retain more people into our profession.
The campaign will include TV adverts, posters, outdoor advertising and social media and continue throughout the year, with spikes of activity when students start to think about their future career options.
“I am determined that we share the passions that drove all of us into the professions”
NHS senior leaders are also visiting schools to connect with the next generation of nurses and midwives and other vital professions within the NHS. I am pleased to be involved with the national speakers for schools programme.
I am delighted to see that our transforming perceptions of nursing and midwifery programme continues to grow from strength to strength. I am determined that we share the passions that drove all of us into the professions. Let’s also showcase our work and leadership locally, regionally and nationally with NHS colleagues, MPs and policy makers so they better understand the transformational work we lead and deliver.
Over 800 nursing and midwifery ambassadors are supporting a series of 12 national 30-day challenges. Our challenge for June was to encourage nurses and midwives from across the country to sign up to be ambassadors. Since the start of the challenge, we have seen a 30% increase in the number of ambassadors – and we want to see even more. Future challenges range from writing a blog to showcase and celebrate achievements through to exploring opportunities to identify and address unwarranted variation.
Our ambassadors represent and reflect the diversity of our professions, wide- ranging specialisms and roles and I thank them for their support. They are fundamentally important in helping to bolster the voices of nurses and midwives and help change future perceptions.
I hope that in this special birthday year we can together inspire the next generation of nurses and midwives and give all our young people a renewed sense of pride in one of this country’s greatest achievements, using and recognising the vast number of achievements, advances and breakthroughs that have taken place over the last 70 years to create ambition and commitment for the future.
Jane Cummings is chief nursing officer for England and NHS England regional director for London