News

Coronavirus ‘biggest challenge in a generation’, chief nurse says

Ruth May tells senior colleagues nurses will show leadership and set aside their own fears in response to COVID-19

Picture of NHS England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May, who says nurses will show leadership and set aside their own fears in response to the outbreak.
England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May Picture: John Houlihan

The coronavirus outbreak is the ‘greatest challenge in health and social care in at least a generation’, says England’s chief nursing officer (CNO) Ruth May.

Her comment came as the UK’s eighth coronavirus death was confirmed.

She told senior nurse leaders at the CNO’s conference in Birmingham on 11 March that nurses will show their outstanding leadership skills and ‘set aside their own fear’, as colleagues have done across the globe in response to the outbreak.

‘You are the go-to people for general and specialist advice, for equipping others with the skills for practical interventions they need in order to deliver on services,’ she told the audience.

‘We will emerge stronger from this, better leaders at every level’

Ms May also said the correct equipment and training will be sourced in response to the outbreak.

‘If we can, we will emerge stronger from this, better leaders at every level. We will have to work fast – very fast – but above all we will need to work smart and safe,’ she said.

Her comments followed an announcement by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens that nursing students will be employed at band 5 to help combat the coronavirus outbreak.

 She said healthcare staff working in organisations such as Health Education England and clinical commissioning groups will also re-join the front-line workforce amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Looking back on last year’s nursing policy updates, including the CPD budget announcement and the £5,000 additional student funding, Ms May said she was convinced these were delivered because of nursing’s united voice.

‘Committed leadership, clarity of objective, one powerful collective voice – it works,’  she said.


In other news

Jobs