The chief nursing officer (CNO) for England has unveiled a brand new vision for nurses, midwives and nursing associates in England.
Dame Ruth May today revealed her vision for the professions for the next three to five years, and said it would “inspire a new direction for nursing and midwifery in England”.
She noted that, for the first time, nurses, midwives and nursing associates across all settings would have a shared vision.
Due to the appointment this week of a new health and social care secretary, Victora Atkins, the final version of the more detailed strategy has not been signed off.
However, Dame Ruth was still able to unveil the headline announcements at her annual CNO summit, being held in London today and tomorrow.
She said: “The vision sets out how we will use our expertise, skills and unique position to protect and support the health of our nation now and into the future.
“It reflects the challenges facing our professions and our health care system.”
The vision will be delivered through seven Ps – which include five focus areas and two “enablers of professional impact”.
These will be applicable to nurses, midwives and nursing associates working in all settings.
Focus area one: Protecting our planet
This focus area will see nurses and midwives champion sustainability, advocate for those most impacted by climate change and deliver evidence-based lower carbon care.
Focus area two: Prevention, protection, promotion and reducing health inequalities
Nurses and midwives will maximise their professional contribution across the life course, with a focus on prevention, protection and the wider determinants of health.
Focus area three: Person-centred practice
Person-centred practice will be placed at the heart of everything nurses and midwives do, and is based on shared values, to improve outcomes and empower people and communities to manage their health and care.
Focus area four: Public and patient safety
This is about nursing and midwifery being safety critical professions that are focused on quality, safety and creating a culture that empowers individuals to raise concerns and know they will be acted upon.
Focus area five: Professional leadership and integration
This focus area is centred on nurses and midwives using their unique roles across the life course to drive better integration that meets the needs of their patients and communities.
First enabler of professional impact: People and workforce development
Nurses and midwives will have varied and rewarding career pathways and benefit from lifelong learning.
This enabler is centred around prioritising the mental and physical health and wellbeing of the nursing and midwifery workforce, to recognise the demanding physical and emotional work they do.
Second enabler of professional impact: Professional culture
This enabler is about ensuring there is a culture that promotes inclusivity and values and champions evidence-based practice, digital and data, research and the use of cutting-edge technology.
To support the strategic vision nationally, NHS England is expected to make a number of commitments next year in each of the priority areas.
Dame Ruth told the conference that NHS England would take a “bespoke approach” as it developed a more detailed delivery plan for each focus area in 2024.
She said: “Delivering our ambitions will require all of us.
“This cannot be a national business plan or something that sits on the shelf.
“To make it a success it must be delivered across our professions at all levels.”
During a Q&A at the end of the keynote, with Nursing Times editor Steve Ford, Dame Ruth said that she was most excited about delivering on the prevention part of the vision.
She said: “The past few years made it abundantly clear that our professions play a critical public health role.
“However, there is much more that we should and can do to support people to have the best start in life and to live a longer, healthier and happier lives.
“That is why one of the Ps in my new vision for nursing and midwifery is to focus on prevention, protection, promotion and reducing health inequalities.”
The announcement comes over a decade after the previous CNO, Jane Cummings, unveiled her 6Cs of nursing and midwifery – a three-year strategy which set out a shared purpose for the professions to deliver high-quality, compassionate care