Our Director of Nursing, Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, has released a message to new nursing students across England:
Welcome to the start of your new career!
As a qualified nurse myself I’m incredibly proud to be Director of Nursing at Health Education England (HEE), the organisation responsible for the education and training of the health and healthcare workforce in England.
HEE exists for one reason: to improve the quality of health and care by ensuring that our workforce has the right numbers with the right skills, values and behaviours, at the right time and place. To do this we spend almost £5 billion a year on undergraduate and postgraduate education and training to ensure that the whole health and healthcare sector in England, including the NHS, the independent sector and public health has access to world class professionals. As you embark upon the start of your nursing or midwifery degree, HEE – the organisation that is funding your training – is here to support you throughout and we want to engage with you.
Nursing and midwifery has come a long way since the days of caps, capes, cuffs and cycles; when colleagues worked mainly in the community or hospital. It’s a really exciting time to be embarking upon your career – new technology, pharmaceutical advances, genetic engineering requires us to develop new ways of working with an ageing population, that will have more complex co-morbidities, be more aware of their care needs and have growing expectations of what the care system should deliver with them and for them. These challenges will make your career highly fulfilling – with a huge amount of career opportunities and flexibility. I know you will have worked hard to get here and the work continues – from today you are not only going to be a student but also increasingly an educator, counsellor, advocate, researcher and improver, system navigator, case manager, for an individual, families, communities and populations. This will require hard work, commitment and tireless compassion.
You will, no doubt experience a series of challenges which will make you feel personally and professionally uncomfortable and as health professionals we will always put the person that we are diligently caring for at the heart. If you are ever in any doubt, please speak up – it is your duty to both the people that you care for and your profession. If you ever need to seek further guidance on this matter you may wish to watch our ‘Raising Concerns’ video.
It’s an extremely exciting time for nursing – the Shape of Caring review has just been published which makes recommendations for changes to education and training that will help meet future patient needs; in terms of midwifery we have undertaken a scoping exercise to better understand how midwives can provide personalised maternity services with the support of multi-disciplinary colleagues and we have just produced a maternity care pathways tool to enable service providers to analyse their whole maternity workforce.
Throughout your application process you clearly demonstrated that you support and bring to life the important principles in the NHS Constitution. As you embark upon your training, my advice to you is to keep these at the forefront, they should underpin everything you do – from ensuring finite resources are used fairly to treating patients and colleagues with dignity and respect. These values are absolutely integral to maintaining a positive and caring culture. And continually challenge yourself – we need a culture of reflection and learning and of respect and understanding.
During your placements you will come across examples of best practice or better ways of doing things. Embrace innovation and share any suggestions within your teams and amongst your fellow students.
We value your feedback on your experiences, both in higher education and clinical settings. Please take the opportunity to share your experiences with us. You can keep up to date on all our recent developments by visiting the HEE website or connect with us via:
As the next generation of nurses and midwives, I wish you all every success in fulfilling our collective ambition to deliver excellent care to patients now and in the future.
Good luck as you embark upon your future career.
Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt
Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of Education & Quality
Health Education England