Chief nurse announces plans to legally protect the title “nurse”

The Chief Nursing Officer in England has set out plans to legally protect the title of "Nurse".

Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England, has set out her plans to legally protect the title of "Nurse" in law - offering similar legal protection to that of our medical colleagues.

A recent study in the Health Service Journal found hundreds of roles which do not require Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registration used the term “Nurse” in the job title.


Speaking at her Chief Nursing Officer annual conference, Ms Ciummings explained that the move is designed to remove confusion and provide added reassurance to the public and patients.

The CNO will work with her counterparts from across the UK to review options for a legal change to ensure only those registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a nurse can use this professional title.

Image: © Monkey Business

Presently, no legal protection exists for the titles or uniforms of registered nursing staff.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:

“Nursing is a modern and dynamic profession with caring for people at its heart. This campaign is a welcome focus on promoting nursing and we would be delighted to work with the CNO on this in England.

“We must do anything we can do to attract people to the profession and shake off outdated perceptions of nursing. However, we have a huge task on our hands to recruit and retain the next generation of nurses when the current workforce is shrinking.

“Nurses have always been at the heart of the NHS and, in its seventieth year, we need to show the nurses of tomorrow they can have fantastic careers that are full of opportunity. It is important that the role and professionalism of registered nurses is protected and we welcome and support NHS England’s plans to protect the title “nurse” in law.

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