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Nursing Officer - Acute Services

Leadership & Management
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Policy/Strategy Development

Area of Practice

  • Adult Nursing


  • Regional Public or Professional Body

Job/Role Summary

  • Provision of advice to the Chief Nursing Officer on all matters relating to acute services
  • Provision of professional input to the development, monitoring and review of policy with regards to secondary and tertiary services
  • Contributing to the assessment of new capital schemes related to acute services
  • Liaising closely with international and local colleagues in developing cancer and palliative care services
  • Contributing to the development of an overall quality framework for the HPSS
  • Promoting and encouraging the development and utilisation of new technologies in the design and delivery of services. Whilst each of the Nursing Officers specialises in a particular field, they work closely with professional colleagues in related disciplines and make a nursing and midwifery contribution over the whole range of health and personal social services.


Specific qualifications and experience required

  • Be a first level registered nurse (Adult Branch) on Part 1 of the NMC Register
  • Have a degree in nursing or health-related subject (for example, health service management, psychology, health studies, or other subject deemed relevant by the Department)
  • Have at least 3 years' experience gained within the past 6 years as a senior manager or advisor or educationalist within a health or social services or education setting
  • Have at least 3 years' professional nursing experience (which can include educational experience) in the past 6 years, in the field of acute services;


Career Milestones

In my first Ward Manager's post I was employed in an organisation which I had never worked for previously and my line manager was not based on the same site. The post had also been vacant for a considerable period of time prior to my taking up post. I therefore had a considerable degree of autonomy and opportunity to test out new ideas and build my team. As an Assistant Director of Nursing it was the characteristics of the organisation and my line manager rather than purely the level/ title of the job which were significant. Trust responsibilities widened my perspective to outside of the specialty in which I had practiced clinically. As it was a small Trust where there was a small senior team, I had the opportunity of exposure to many areas/issues which was excellent and relevant experience for my current post where my remit covers all acute services. My current post has provided me with a regional perspective and a much greater understanding of how policy and strategy is formulated and ratified. It has also exposed me to a different organisational culture from that of HPSS where I have spent the majority of my working life. The King's Fund Johnson and Johnson Nursing Leadership Programme encouraged me to look at issues in different ways and use both sides of my brain! It has provided a network of colleagues nationally which has been very useful in my current role


What attracted you to this job?

  • Very different to previous roles
  • Regional element
  • Team I would be working with
  • Good developmental opportunity to take with me into my next role(s)
  • Positive feedback from previous post holders
  • Practical, personal considerations e.g. primary location, flexibility.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

  • Engaging with colleagues from throughout NI and the UK and enthusing frontline staff about policy which can sometimes be viewed as rather remote from service delivery
  • Involvement in issues in which I would previously have had little, if any, exposure to
  • Working with a team who are all experts in their fields.


Important success factors

  • Networks - knowing who to go to about what and whose opinions to value on particular issues
  • Guidance from formal and informal mentors
  • Opportunity to try out new things in the 'safe' environment of a development programme.


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

Be prepared for it to take quite some time (months not weeks) to adjust to a different culture and way of working. Avoid channelling valuable energy into becoming frustrated with how long things can take - keep remembering it may take longer, but if you get there in the end the impact will be regional, rather than ward, directorate, Trust or Board wide. Form relationships - this can be much more difficult to do in an organisation that focuses on formal communication but avoid temptation to always use email - lift the phone, call colleagues' offices. Set yourself short, medium and long term targets and keep reviewing them.


Key skills that can be gained within this job/role?

  • Writing concise, factual, to-the-point papers
  • Recognising the impact of one area of work/ development on other areas of work/developments
  • Assimilating large amounts of information and identifying key issues for further consideration/action
  • Bringing together groups of individuals from a wide range of organisations, with varying views and facilitating them to reach consensus, if not agreement!
  • A in-depth understanding of policy and legislation relating to acute services, nursing and midwifery education, regulation and workforce development.


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