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EDITOR’S COMMENT

'New chief inspector role should be filled by a nurse'

  • 16 Comments

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

jenni.middleton@emap.com. Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed

  • 16 Comments

Readers' comments (16)

  • Jenni I totally agree with you
    It Must Be A NURSE

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  • A real nurse, not a clip board target driven addict. Tinkerbell are you available?

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  • I'm not sure it must be a nurse as I think other professions could equally do this role given the wide remit and responsibilities

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  • I totally agree that the person for the job is a Nurse. I liked the comment that 'Nurses see everything, and know how hospitals run - they will know where to look to find care failings - and how to fix them.' This is the basis of frontline care that I personally don't think that someone from industry or a junior minister would be able to learn quickly, it's almost a 'Nurses intuition'.

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  • Anonymous | 18-Apr-2013 8:42 pm

    I entirely agree. Nurses possess many highly developed tacit skills which are important in evaluating how hospitals are run and standards of care as well as having a thorough understanding of the finer points of the profession which may not be apparent to others.

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  • Who's more likely to perform a urine dip test to establish whether or not a patient may have an infection requiring antibiotics?
    Who's more likely to spot signs of deteriorating patients and then do something about it?
    How long does it takes to administer medication for your an acutely unwell patient with chronic conditions, without rushing the patient when swallowing tablets, safely preparing + administering IVs, all with no distractions or drug errors? Then compare that time with how long it takes to prescribed all those medications correctly and write it in clearly + legibly.
    Who's more likely to refer patients for other professional input and ongoing rehabilitation, initiates social care + community support?
    A nurse.

    I agree, be careful of electronic clipboard carriers, but regular shifts as a HCA/staff nurse will maintain professional competence ;)

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  • Doesn't necessarily need to be a nurse but definitely a clinician.

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  • Chief Inspector? A minkey? A Berm? A job for the boys/girls?

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  • The problem is the Chief Inspector needs powers and the ability to hold trusts to account when things go wrong.

    Can the Chief Inspector command Trusts to recruit more nurses? Can the CI hold managers to account and force them to resign?

    What does "champion the interests of patients and make critical judgements about the quality of care provided" really mean in simple English? Unless the person can command the Trusts to act, the role is powerless.

    Is this merely a figurehead role? So the government can say they are doing something? It all depends on whom they employ, the nature of the person concerned. In politics the person chosen may be the person who toes the party line and believes what the government says, rather than someone who fights for nurses and doctors and patientcare.

    What do you all think?

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  • redpaddys12 | 19-Apr-2013 11:12 pm

    How much? might be worth applying for.

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