Looking ahead to 2019

RCN Executive Nurse Network

 Irene Gray 12 Dec 2018

As the days and nights get colder and we move towards the festive season, it is easy to feel the ramping up of activity to manage the patient throughput and dependency we so well know at this time of the year. 

Our focus as nurses is rightly on those we came into the profession to serve and I applaud you all for your dedication and resilience. As I now look from a distance across the sectors, albeit with a direct link to both the NHS and Care Home services, I see nurse leaders who are visible and continue to demonstrate ‘gracious leadership’ who whilst owning the challenges, remaining accountable, tough, highly engaged and smart. 
The Executive Nurse Network is highly conscious that our leaders must also be cared for in a sensitive, supportive and energetic way. We all need time out to recharge out batteries. A formula one racing car never finishes a race without several pit stops to refuel and change wheels. Nurse Leaders are no different to those highly tuned, well maintained machines, or are you? When was the last time you took time out to think, refresh and recharge? 

Throughout 2019 the ENN will be focussing on your wellbeing and act as a resource to support you in experiencing valued time out, where you can discuss and debate in a safe environment and recharge your batteries. Our first annual conference will be held in September and will focus on peak performance with contributions from international sports personnel who have broken the boundaries on more than one occasion. All sectors will be engaged, providing another opportunity to broaden networks and learn from each other. More detail will be available in the coming months on the ENN webpages.  

Once again at Congress in May, we will join forces with the Leadership Forum to host a ‘fringe’ event. Past fringe events have seen a full house and have provided exceptional discussion and debate on the role of the nurse executive and leadership and change. This year we will be focussing on a formalised development of nurse leaders for the future! It would be wonderful to see more Executive Nurses and Nurse Leaders at Congress, even for just one day. It truly does give a flavour of the work of the professional body along with the opportunity to influence and indeed recharge those batteries. 

I hope to see you at one or both events, but in the meantime, wish you all a very happy Christmas and I look forward to continuing to support the ENN and nurse leaders across the sectors for the immediate future. 


Irene Gray Chair of RCN Executive Nurse Network

Irene Gray

RCN Executive Nurse Network

Irene trained as a nurse in Manchester from 1972 to 1975, specialising in care of the elderly and rehabilitation. 

Over the past 30 years Irene has held 9 executive roles including Director of Nursing at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS trust, UH Bristol and a National Care Home Company. 

Irene has demonstrable expertise in Leadership development, Team development, Coaching for performance, Patient and Service user experience, Governance and Assurance processes and systems and Regulation.

Page last updated - 24/01/2019