Sunday, 20 December 2015

Time for today’s prize winners, but thinking about tomorrow's winners too

One of the things I really enjoyed last week was being part of our School Prize Winners Celebration. Friday morning saw nearly 90 people assemble to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of students from across the School’s range of programmes. All students who graduate from the University have achieved something special, and something to be proud of. This was a group of students, who for a variety of reasons were ‘best in their class’. It was wonderful to see both my colleagues, the students, and their families shared pride and enjoyment in celebrating their success.

In introducing the event I talked about the wider successes the School has enjoyed over the past year. Our research income, the awards students and colleagues had been given for their contribution to services and/or the professions. I also talked about the changing world many of our graduates will now find themselves in. For example, colleagues from the School make a major contribution to the work of our Institute of Dementia, working at developing news ways to help people to live well with dementia. The nature of health and social care services is changing in terms of how, where and by whom they are provided. Preparing our students to shine in such a turbulent environment is something my colleagues are very, very good at doing.

Many of my colleagues will be familiar with the ‘Devo Manc’ and ‘Northern Powerhouse’ devolution initiatives here in Greater Manchester. But like me, I guess many will have been surprised at the announcement made last week at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, of a devolution deal for London. In Manchester the proposition is to work towards a £6bn budget for the provision of integrated health and social care across the region. Plans for London also look to integrate primary and secondary care, but will do so through the establishment of 5 pilots across the capital. Watch this space…

Change is definitely in the air, and strangely some of these changes have a rather familiar feel to them. Last week I spent some time finishing off our School Operational Plan for 2016/17. One of the initiatives we are planning for September is the development of an Associate Nurse programme. Amazingly, before the ink had barely dried on the page, up steps Health Minister Ben Gummer to announce the introduction of a new nursing associate role. The ambition is that 1000 nurse associates will start their training in 2016.

Was I spitting feathers at this apparent hijacking of my ideas? – Not at all. I have been developing this idea for a while and wrote about the need to develop the Associate Nurse role in one of my blog posts back in September. I was also privileged to take part in a thought leadership round table event in October with colleagues from around the 4 countries of the UK, the NMC and with Lord Willis. I was able to share my thinking over the development of Nurse Associate role. Already there is much debate as to whether we are diluting the role and achievements of our graduate nurses, and are we returning to the two tier system of Enrolled and Registered Nurses. I refute both contentions and absolutely see this role as a new, necessary and important new entrant to the health and social care workforce. However, as I noted in regard to the plans for London devolution, we will have to watch this space. 

This is my last blog posting before Christmas 2015. Whatever your plans might entail, I hope all readers of this blog get to spend a peaceful and joyous time with their families, friends, colleagues and those you want to with. 

Best wishes for a happy and merry Christmas to you all.