Happy International Nurses Day

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May 12 2021 News

A message from Elizabeth Bradbury, Senior Nurse and Aqua Director

I’ve been a registered nurse for more than 30 years, during which time I’ve met some amazing nurses who’ve shaped my career and my whole view of the profession. I’m indebted to the charge nurse who dared to be different and who showed me, an 18 year old student nurse, that nursing leadership wasn’t all about starchy uniforms, frilly hats and terrifying student nurses and junior doctors. This charge nurse modelled approachability and humility, he was patient-centred long before the phrase existed, he made gruelling shifts fun and he instinctively knew when the emotional roller coaster of an acute medical ward was all too much.


As a senior nurse myself I came to understand that some of his leadership behaviours were inherent and some learnt. It’s hard to be endlessly positive, supportive, focused on the clinical strategy yet able to roll up your sleeves and deliver great nursing care, kind but firm. The list goes on…..

Fast forward to Aqua, where I’ve been privileged to work with inspirational nurses at every level in every sphere of care – in the community, specialist services, mental health, primary and acute care, commissioning, research, education and improvement. I’ve seen nurse leaders innovate, challenge, sponsor change and empower teams to test ideas and spread their wings, and never more so that during the COVID-19 pandemic. I can’t imagine a more difficult situation for any chief nurse to encounter, and some of my leadership coaching with executive nurses has illustrated what a pressurised and lonely role it can be; I’m not sure they receive much recognition themselves.

So on International Nurses Day 2021, themed around ‘A Voice to Lead,’ I’m paying tribute to chief nurses everywhere.


Thank you for steering nursing at large through the COVID-19 crisis and into this phase of recovery, thank you for your commitment to excellence for patients and families, your compassion and – since most chief nurses are the executive sponsors for quality and safety in their organisations – thank you for being great colleagues for Aqua to work with. On a daily basis you present us with thorny clinical quality challenges and it is always a pleasure to collaborate.

We hope some of Aqua’s offers this year will continue to support you with your organisational and system improvement initiatives.

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