NHS at 70: it's time to thank the nursing profession

Nurses in England continue to be guided by the 6Cs

Barry Quinn on the Windrush awards and Jane Cummings as she prepares to step down as chief nursing officer

In the 70th year of the NHS, it is time to say thank you – and to acknowledge the greatness within nursing, and those who work in health and social care.

Thank you to all nurses and colleagues who through their commitment and competence have kept people safe, and cared for them all year round against a backdrop of increasing demand.

Thank you to Jane Cummings, who, having worked as a nurse in the NHS for nearly 40 years, has decided to step down from her role as chief nursing officer (CNO) for England.

Professor Cummings will be remembered for many things, including her visibility and leadership and her work on helping the profession to focus on the core principles of nursing under the now-famous 6Cs: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

As nursing continues to grow, develop and grapple with the changing world of health and social care, it will do so guided by these principles of professional nursing.

Greatness of colleagues

Alongside the work of the CNO and many others, it is also right and good that we take time to thank and to recognise the often-hidden greatness of colleagues and their families who have chosen to take up their roots and come to the UK to work in the NHS.

People of more than 200 nationalities currently help the NHS to be the service it is. We celebrate this greatness as we acknowledge the 300 colleagues who have been nominated for the NHS Windrush 70 awards, and to wish those shortlisted an enjoyable and well-deserved ceremony on 12 June.  

Among the finalists is Nursing Management editorial adviser Nichole McIntosh, assistant director of nursing at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust.

In my own roles, I have been privileged in many NHS Trusts to work and walk alongside you and to learn from your nursing care.

About the author

Barry Quinn is director of nursing for cancer at Barts Health NHS Trust, London, and consultant editor of Nursing Management journal

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