Fancy a new job? Last week saw the publication of the advertisement for the chief inspector of hospitals for the Care Quality Commission, the role created by the government in response to the Francis report’s criticism of current standards of regulation.
The chief inspector will “champion the interests of patients and make critical judgements about the quality of care provided” according to the ad, and judge the quality of care provided by hospitals. The ad also states that it is looking for “a senior figure who will inspire the trust and confidence of the public, and who will have immediate credibility across the clinical professions”.
You know what that sounds like to me? A nurse.
Nurses’ reputations have been damaged of late by events at Mid Staffordshire - and mired even more by the media reaction and the government’s response to the Francis report, which seemed to point the finger at the profession. Despite this, nurses still inspire a great degree of trust from the public.
The most important part of the chief inspector role is about being a patient/public champion, and no profession is better at that than nurses
Ultimately, the most important part of this chief inspector role is about being a patient/public champion, and no profession is better at that than nurses.
But it’s not just that nurses inspire the most confidence and create the best relationships with the public. Nurses see everything, and know how hospitals run - they will know where to look to find care failings - and how to fix them. They will be pro-active and pragmatic, suggest changes and actually get the job done.
Nurses won’t just look at data, they will look at the patient.
And if a nurse gets this job, it will dispel the myth that you can’t be clever and compassionate. The government’s plan to make prospective student nurses work for a year as a healthcare assistant sends a message that nursing is simply a set of tasks that must be carried out with compassion but not intelligence. Anything that contradicts this message to current and aspiring nurses is vital.
At the very least, non-nurse candidates must be able to demonstrate their competence to judge the quality of nursing. Without good nursing, the deteriorating patients will not be observed, doctors will not be able to treat them and families will know less. Dignity and safety depends on good nursing. Whoever gets this role must appreciate that.
● Are you putting quality and innovation at the heart of what you do? Then enter the Nursing Times Awards at ntawards.co.uk. The deadline is May 24
Jenni Middleton, editor
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed