Diane Murray has been recognised by the UK’s chief nursing officers for her outstanding achievements as a nurse leader, both nationally and internationally.
Ms Murray was the deputy chief nursing officer for Scotland until November 2021 and has since then taken part in consultancy work.
“During the pandemic I was amazed by the innovation and hard work of nurses in such difficult times”
She is a faculty member with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, delivering a Quality Leaders Professional Development Programme. The programme is for strategic leaders of quality and has participants from U.K. Europe, Australia, South America, Canada and USA.
She is also supporting the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority in Northern Ireland with some service review work.
She was announced as the winner of the Chief Nursing Officers’ Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2022 edition of the annual Nursing Times Awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 26 October.
Deputy chief nursing officer for Scotland Anne Armstrong, who announced the award, described Ms Murray as having demonstrated “significant professional leadership” throughout her career.
Ms Armstrong added that Ms Murray’s career “has been wide reaching both nationally and internationally”, to drive improvement in the quality of care being delivered in wards and community-based services.
She added: “In doing so, she has developed the skills, competencies and confidence of nurses across Scotland with the aim of creating a sustainable approach to improvement. I believe she has now embarked on doing similar across Europe.”
Ms Armstrong said that Ms Murray’s focus throughout has been about creating the conditions that “enables excellent person-centred, safe and effective care to be delivered time and time again across the country”.
Ms Murray is both a registered nurse and midwife. After working in clinical midwifery and nursing roles in acute and community settings at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, she moved into leadership positions at the regional health board before becoming deputy chief nurse at the Scottish Government in 2016.
She was later appointed as associate chief nurse at the Scottish Government in 2021, until she undertook her most recent roles.
Among her many achievements, Ms Murray led the development of Excellence in Care –national standards for nursing services across the country – which enabled wards and community nursing teams to assess their practise against a practise dashboard of peers.
She also led the development of the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act in 2019, alongside the development of workload tools to support its implementation.
Additionally, under Ms Murray, hospital standardised mortality ratios in a large NHS board were reduced by 34%, delivering better patient outcomes.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Murray demonstrated phenomenal leadership, as she led the development of nursing advice and support to care homes within Scotland, ensuring the needs of the sector were highlighted and supported.
During her acceptance speech, Ms Murray said she accepted the award “on behalf of every nurse and midwife who continue to make a difference every day”.
She said that her role as deputy chief nurse for Scotland brought her “the greatest joy and challenge” of her life, especially during Covid-19.
She added: “During the pandemic, I was amazed by the innovation and hard work of nurses and midwives in such difficult times.
“The debt of gratitude owed to them during that time cannot be underestimated. I thank them for their service and remain in awe of them.”
She thanked tutors, healthcare quality organisations and leaders, nursing academics and the teams she has had “the privilege to lead”.