Much of the content on our site is available to our registered users only. If you're already registered, just click the 'Log in' button then enter your email address and password.
If you're not already registered on the site, you'll need to do so in order to gain unrestricted access to all our content. There are two types of registration:
1. If you're a current subscriber, you can register for access to our protected content at no additional cost. You'll need your subscription number in order to complete your registration, which is on the polythene wrapper in which your journal is delivered. Click the Register button to begin your registration.
2. If you don't currently subscribe you can do so now by taking out a secure online subscription. Not only will this give you instant access to our protected online content, but you'll also get every issue of Nursing Standard - the UK's best selling nursing journal - delivered straight to your door. Click the Register button to begin your subscription and registration.
Not so long ago the government was under fire for failing to guarantee that England's chief nurse would be replaced when she retired. There were concerns that the profession would lack leadership at national level, with the result that nurses would be sidelined when key policy decisions were made.
A year later and, after much campaigning from professional leaders, three nurses have been appointed to national leadership positions. Jane Cummings has become chief nursing officer (CNO) at the National Commissioning Board; Viv Bennett has taken up her post as director of nursing at the Department of Health; and Sally Brearley is chair of the prime minister's nursing and care quality forum.
As a result, a different danger arises. Ms Cummings has developed a national strategy for nursing, just as Ms Brearley is doing much the same on behalf of David Cameron. Their proposals come just as the finishing touches are being put to the Francis report, which will make its own recommendations on nursing's future in October. All of which looks like a recipe for duplication and potential conflict.
Until 2009 there was only one nursing leader in government: the CNO, who was accountable to ministers at the Department of Health. Then the prime minister of the day, Gordon Brown, set up a commission on the future of nursing that was chaired by another nurse, health minister Ann Keen. The coalition government has gone a step further by appointing three nurses to such senior positions. There is no time limit on Mr Cameron's commission, which means the situation is likely to persist for some years.
On an optimistic note, it is reassuring to see three such impressive women representing the profession in the corridors of power. It is essential that they can find a way of working together to ensure nurses are equipped and empowered to deliver the best possible nursing care. Ms Brearley insists there will be no duplication but 'symbiosis', and nurses will be hoping she is right.
This week's Nursing Standard carries interviews with Ms Brearley and Ms Cummings to give them a chance to set out their plans, as well as giving readers the chance to make up their own minds.
Editorial | July 25 2012 | Vol 26 No 47
Nursing Standard is published every Wednesday by RCN Publishing Company Ltd, the publishing company of the Royal College of Nursing.
It seeks to promote professional excellence, and encourage creativity and innovation in nursing, midwifery and health visiting practice. Nursing Standard also aims to enhance nurses' and healthcare assistants' career development and to help them achieve and maintain a healthy and rewarding working environment. Nursing Standard is editorially independent and the opinions expressed are not those of the RCN or of the contributor's employing organisation unless specifically stated.