Stay calm and provide practical leadership
In these extraordinary times, senior nurses must model good management and leadership, and demonstrate exemplary infection control
It will come as little surprise that coronavirus and COVID-19 proved to be the focus of this year’s annual summit of chief nursing officer for England Ruth May.
After all, the virus is the ‘biggest challenge in a generation’, as Ms May told the scores of senior nurses who came from across the country to attend the two-day event in Birmingham.
‘Plan for the worst and work for the best’
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock, who had to stay in London for an emergency Cobra meeting on COVID-19, addressed the summit in a recorded message, saying the government response is ‘to plan for the worst and work for the best’.
And there was a behind-closed-doors session with NHS England director for acute care Keith Willett, the key message from which is understood to have been: support staff, contain anxiety by keeping people well-informed and keep communication simple.
‘We will secure the equipment and implement the training’
Ms May also accompanied her warning with an assurance. ‘We will secure the right equipment. We will implement the necessary training,’ she said. ‘We will set aside our fear to show our outstanding leadership skills.’
Nursing Management consultant editor Barry Quinn and I endorse that call to stay calm and provide outstanding practical leadership.
‘We must be the voice of evidence-based reason’
I’m writing this only at the start of what is expected to be months of potential disruption across our wider society, professionally and personally, and with the understanding that we have yet to see the worst.
But providing outstanding practical leadership, at whatever level and especially in these extraordinary times, will involve role modelling good management and leadership, and demonstrating exemplary infection control at work and at home.
Meanwhile, putting aside our natural fear will demand that we take a rational approach to the dangers around us. As Ms May put it: ‘We must be the voice of evidence-based reason.’