Caron Sanders-Crook, our operations manager, has recently been appointed as chair of one of the newly established Social Care Nursing Advisory Councils (SCNACs) set up by Professor Deborah Sturdy, the Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care.

There is now one SCNAC sitting alongside each Integrated Care Board (ICB), the NHS organisations tasked with planning for and providing health services in a particular region. As well as supporting and providing a voice for nurses working in social care, the SCNACs aim to promote better understanding of nursing in adult social care among NHS colleagues as well as closer working relationships.

Caron, who is chair of the Mid & South Essex SCNAC (alongside her work at Canford Healthcare) is one of 42 senior nurses tasked with leading each council. It is a demanding role, for which she and her fellow SCNAC chairs have received bespoke leadership and transformational change training from the Florence Nightingale Foundation. Caron will be working alongside the ICB’s chief nurse as well as local representatives of other key organisations such as Skills for Care, Rights for Residents, Dementia UK, the Royal College of Nursing, the Queen’s Nurse Institute and so on. She is also actively recruiting for nurse members in her area.

Alongside Professor Sturdy, Caron was one of several panellists discussing the initiative at the Chief Nursing Conference recently.

“This is an amazing opportunity for health and social care professionals to come together for integrated work. We also see it as a way of sharing expertise and knowledge, getting previously unheard voices in our nursing sector round the table so we can raise issues to improve care for the people we look after,” she told delegates.

She added: “In social care we’re good at working with limited resources, being innovative and creative and doing all this while adapting our services to meet the needs of those we care for. We are in a strong position to support our colleagues in health to improve and innovate services going forward, so we can really make a difference.” To view the panel session, please click here.

Caron, who looks after five Canford Healthcare homes as geographically diverse as west London, Essex and north Kent, has worked in many health and social care settings for over 37 years. In 2021 she became a Queen’s Nurse and a year later received the Chief Nursing Officer for Adult Social Care Gold Award, both in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing to date.

Along with several other professional memberships, Caron is part of the Chief Nursing Officer-Adult Social Care (CNO-ASC) Nursing and Care Advisory Group. She participated in the Minister of State for Social Care – Round Table Discussion with Helen Whately – Women’s Call for Evidence in developing the first Women’s Health Strategy for the UK. Caron is also a member of the Chief Nursing Officer – Adult Social Care (CNO-ASC) Covid-19 Legacy Social Care Group, raising the profile of professionalism and resilience in the social care sector and sharing best practice during the pandemic. She has contributed to the Nursing & Midwifery Council’s Post Registration Standards Assimilation Meetings, as well as various projects with the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI).

More recently, Caron has been involved with the development and mapping of the Field Specific Standards for Specialisms in Community Nursing to adult social care and to the four Pillars of Advanced Practice. This enables nurses working in social care to achieve a long-awaited Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ). Several universities are going through an endorsement process with the QNI and will be offering this qualification soon.