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Should directors of nursing have a clinical role?

  • Comments (7)

What do you think?

  • Is it important for DONs to be clinically credible?
  • Should DONs be clinical experts?
  • Is it possible DONs to manage a nursing service if they are not directly involved in clinical practice?
  • Comments (7)

Readers' comments (7)

  • Anonymous

    In an ideal world, yes they should remain clinically credible and have developed expertise in a specific field of nursing which is maintained.

    However, we don't live in an ideal world and the current structures and demands within the NHS mean that it is highly unlikely that any DoN or other Executive level nurse would be able to really maintain this. They may well be able to do regular walk arounds or even the occassional clinical shift, but to maintain their expertise and credibility in that area of expertise would be almost impossible if they are to fulfill their other obligations and still have a life.

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  • Anonymous

    are they still registered with the nmc if they have no clinical input?

    in the case of a major incident are they expected to come in and help out?

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  • By the very nature of being a Director of Nursing I see myself as having a clinical role - I use my clinical skills now just in the same was as I did when I was a staff nurse in CCU.

    I do however recognise that my clinical competence, partricularly in CCU is not as contemporary as those who work in the area. That said I am pleased to say that when asked recently I could still read an ECG and talk with confidence about the nursing and medical management of an acute MI patient.

    Clinical credibility comes in many forms, and in my experience the Directors of Nursing that have inspired me the most have been able to understand the challenges that I had in delivering care and on occassions have helped in delivering care.

    The fundemental aspects of nursing care can be delivered by any registered nurse and again in my experience stay with a registered nurse for their entire career. This is why, in my view registered nurses of all grades, colours and types should spend the majority of their time in uniform - this helps connect with both patients and the nursing team.

    The model of executive clinical leadership in medicine is very interesting, most medical directors maintain a small element of clinical practice alongside their executive responsibilities - perhaps this is something we should advocate for senior nurses and midwives?


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  • Anonymous

    "The model of executive clinical leadership in medicine is very interesting, most medical directors maintain a small element of clinical practice alongside their executive responsibilities - perhaps this is something we should advocate for senior nurses and midwives?"

    I strongly believe this is how it should be. to remain on the register practical skills and theoretical knowledge must be kept up to date. no patient should have interventions from anybody whose skills are rusty or out of date and anybody claiming to be a registered nurse must be able to deliver nursing care, especially in an emergency.

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  • Anonymous

    I work in a trust where our new Director of Nursing has insisted she undertake a small amount of clinical practice and this has significantly improved some of our relationships and understanding. I work as an HCA on the bank because I'm not qualified, and that has helped me learn too.

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  • Anonymous

    I am now retired. Prior to retiring I was a DNS for over 10 years.

    During that time I devoted two "shifts" a week o clinical practise. My clinical background was in A/E and intensive/coronary care.

    Its easy just block the diary ! The "managers" had to work and march to my drumbeat !

    I also ensured that each and every one of my "nurse manager" colleagues committed themselves to undertaking hands on clinical care -on a regular basis.

    There are those in post today who have forgotten how difficult undertaking clinical work actually is. Yet these are the people who will happily reduce RGN nurse staffing and employ yet more care assistants !

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  • Anonymous | 6-Apr-2013 9:21 am

    I would have been proud to march to your drumbeat!
    Exactly the way in should be, clinicians in front. People like me behind you, supporting.
    I hope you enjoy your retirement. The NHS is a very difficult place to work in but I wouldn't want to work anywhere else.

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