Geraldine Walters to step down as NMC Executive Director of Professional Practice

Published on 06 July 2022

Professor Geraldine Walters CBE will leave her role as NMC Executive Director of Professional Practice in November, following an exceptional career in practice, research, education and leadership.

Geraldine-Walters-web.jpgGeraldine joined the NMC in 2016 as Director of Nursing and Midwifery Education, Standards and Policy. She has since led the development and delivery of all our new standards – including our transformative Future Nurse and Future Midwife standards, which are increasingly shaping practice across the UK. Most recently she has led the work to deliver new post-registration standards that build on ambitions for community and public health nursing.

In response to the pandemic, Geraldine spearheaded our approach to developing additional emergency education standards, which increased course flexibility and allowed some students to support the workforce. She also oversaw the move to virtual quality assurance of nursing and midwifery programmes, and the Caring with Confidence series of animations to support professionals to uphold high standards in challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

Geraldine also had lead responsibility for developing the clinical and practice standards to allow regulation of the nursing associate role in 2018–2019. This role was designed to bridge the gap between registered nurses and healthcare assistants in England.

As a registered nurse, Geraldine specialised in cardiology, and has held executive nurse director roles in acute NHS trusts, including as director of nursing at both St George’s Hospital NHS Trust, and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Meanwhile she has been a visiting professor at Buckinghamshire New University and at King’s College London’s Florence Nightingale School.

Professor Geraldine Walters said:

“Having been a registered nurse since 1979, I feel very fortunate to have spent the last six years of my career working at the NMC. During that time, I’ve developed my own understanding of the importance of professional regulation. I’d like to thank all those NMC colleagues who have taught, guided, and helped me, as well as our Council members – past and present – for their unfailing support.

“In this role I’ve also felt privileged to work closely with senior professional leaders, across the four countries of the UK, and those in the education sector. I’d like to thank them for their wise counsel and their positive influence and support for the work we have done, and for their patience and tolerance and willingness to work together on issues that have been complex and controversial.

“Finally, I’d like to pay tribute to all the nurses, midwives and nursing associates on our register, and those students who aspire to join it during these challenging times. You are invaluable – be proud of what you achieve, and be confident in your professionalism and your worth to people’s health and wellbeing.”

Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“Gerry has made an immense contribution to nursing and midwifery education and practice. Her leadership has completely transformed our education standards for nurses and midwives, and introduced a new profession, nursing associates. She played a key role as the NMC navigated the challenges brought by the pandemic, continuing to innovate and inspire us all.

“I know our colleagues and partners will miss Gerry’s passion for her profession, and her amazing ability to get to the heart of an issue. I have personally benefited from Gerry’s wisdom and advice and I’m very grateful I’ve had the opportunity to work with her for more than three years.”

Sir David Warren, Chair of the Council, said:

“As Chair of Council I have only worked with Gerry for a year. But even in that short time, I have seen what a major impact she has had on nursing and midwifery practice, and how committed she is to upholding excellence in those professions and to supporting them as actively as possible.  

“Gerry is our most senior registered professional, and she has ensured that the voice of our registrants has been heard in all our most important discussions.  She has provided exceptional professional leadership at a difficult time, and is massively respected, inside and outside our organisation. It has been a privilege to work with her.”

Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England, said:

“On behalf of all my CNO colleagues across the four nations, I’d like to thank Gerry for the exemplary leadership she’s provided on behalf of our professions at the NMC. Having such a senior and well respected registrant at the top table of our professional regulator has had a more positive impact on nurses, midwives and nursing associates than most of us will ever know.

“Gerry’s legacy will be the high standards of care people receive across health and care for years to come, shaped by the nursing and midwifery standards she has led to fruition. Everyone owes her a debt of gratitude.”

The NMC will start the process to recruit a new Executive Director of Professional Practice next week (week commencing 11 July 2022). The role description and application details will be available on the NMC website.

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