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Associate Chief Nursing Officer

What is the role of an Associate Chief Nursing Officer?

It is to ensure the safe provision of service and governance across the specialties’ within the Care Group.

Operational responsibility for the activity of the Quality Governance team. Ongoing development of Quality, to build on improvement journey. A professional role model requiring strong clinical leadership. Excellent understanding of governance and quality improvement, analytical thinking and ensuring that the patients are placed at the centre of care delivery. Energy, motivation and an ability to communicate with patients, their families and staff at all levels. The ability to develop effective working relationships and influence all members of the multidisciplinary teams is paramount to this rewarding role Opportunity to contribute fully in the development of quality improvement and governance within the Trust with the express aim of implementing the ‘quality commitment’ and improving the safety of patients, staff and visitors to the Trust.

What qualifications and experience do I need?

Qualified as a registered nurse, with either a MSc or postgraduate study at Masters level and also extensive leadership experience across a range of services.

Pay and benefits

Please refer to the latest Agenda for Change pay scales for salary details.


This is a registered role.



My Story: Paul Highton

I’m Paul Highton and I am the Associate Chief Nursing Office – Surgery Care Group.  I joined University Hospitals Plymouth in 2020

How I got into this role

I was working in Reading within the independent sector having left the NHS in 2016. I felt that I wanted to return to the NHS as I had the skills and experience to help support positive experiences both for patients and the staff.

I applied for the role as we had just decided to relocate to Cornwall.  It popped up on NHS jobs, I had an informal discussion, paid a visit to the hospital and really liked the people I met and the way the organisation was trying to implement change.

My role at UHP

It’s difficult to define what I do on a day to day basis as it changes so quickly and no two days are ever the same.

In essence I ensure the provision of safe services and governance processes within the Care Group by supporting the Care Group Manager. I also have delegated responsibility from the Chief Nurse for ensure effective governance and oversight is maintained within all the services.

The best bits and the challenges

The best bits for me are being out on the wards with the staff and patients seeing the fantastic work that’s done by people even when at times it’s difficult.

The challenges are going from meeting to meetings and some days going home feeling that I’ve not achieved what needed to be done.

Life outside of work

Outside of work I’m lucky enough to live about 8 miles from the sea so spend time enjoying walks, meeting friends when we can. I also play the piano and have a variety of cars in various states of repair.

My top tips to being successful

At the moment I’m enjoying my role here at Plymouth but I have found over the past 26 years that there is no telling where your career can take you – so you never know!

My top tip is to try and make a difference to someone every day, be kind but firm and always ensure you know what’s being asked of you – or that you are asking of people.

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