Blog: 100 days until 100 years

As we countdown to the centenary of the Nurses Registration Act 1919, our Chief Executive, Andrea Sutcliffe, reflects on a century of professional pride and what's coming next

As we prepare for the Year of the Nurse and Year of the Midwife in 2020, the NMC has its own special milestone to celebrate – the centenary of the Nurses Registration Act which passed into law on 23 December 1919. We can draw a direct line from our establishment in 2002 all the way to that moment in 1919.

I don’t know about you, but two days before Christmas I’m usually running around buying last minute presents and some years still unforgivably writing Christmas cards. So, we didn’t want to leave commemorating this significant event until then when lots of people might be understandably distracted by other things. Instead we started a 100 day countdown from 14 September.

Looking back

Of course the centenary of nursing regulation is a significant moment for the NMC, but it’s not really about us – it’s about the hundreds of thousands of amazing nurses on our register, now and those that have gone before. Throughout these 100 days we plan to share and celebrate some of their stories and the fantastic work they do. Nurses like Ethel Gordon-Fenwick, the tireless campaigner for nurse registration whose efforts led to the passage of the act in 1919.

Neither should we forget that this year marks a hundred years of learning disability nursing and I was so proud to represent the NMC at the Parliamentary reception earlier this year when that milestone was celebrated. Listening to learning disability nurses speak about the people they’ve supported who have inspired them was incredibly moving.

Looking forward

Midwives were way ahead of the game with legislation passing 17 years earlier in 1902 and we certainly don’t want to neglect them in all this focus on nurses. We are in the final stages of agreeing the Future Midwife standards and will be presenting them to the Council meeting in October for approval. If that happens, we are planning launch events in January in all four UK countries and a flurry of communications activity that will help to highlight their incredibly important work supporting women, babies and their families.

And of course January 2020 will be the first year anniversary of the registration of nursing associates - another cause for celebration!

As we look back we also want to look forward to ensure the regulation of nurses, midwives and nursing associates keeps pace with the changing times we live in. Our consultation on our strategic themes closes in a month’s time on 16 October. Developed with insight from nurses, midwives and nursing associates on the register; members of the public and people using services; NMC colleagues; and our partners we have focused on five key themes:

  • A dynamic approach to shaping practice
  • Building our relationship with the public
  • Strengthening the relationship with our professions
  • Using and sharing research, data and intelligence
  • Closer collaboration with others

Get involved

We’ve already had some great feedback from our online survey, regional round tables and through social media. There’s still time to get involved – the survey closes on 16 October and we are holding webinars on 26 September and 10 October. All the details of how to get involved are available on our website.

As the Always Caring, Always Nursing 100 day countdown progresses, I hope you will enjoy reading the stories and finding out about the fantastic work nurses do. Please also have your say in shaping our future for the next five years so that we can make sure the nurses, midwives and nursing associates of the future are supported to provide the safest, best care possible for everyone.


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