Analysis

The future of nursing set out in 2030 Vision

There is much to like in Scotland’s Nursing 2030 Vision, but the success will be in the implementation.

There is much to like in Scotlands Nursing 2030 Vision, but the success will be in the implementation.

As the name suggests, the document, published in July, sets out a strategy for what nursing in Scotland needs to look like in 2030; it considers what is done well and what should change, and how to deal with future demands such as the ageing population and workforce.

Reassurance

Scotlands chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen states in her introduction: 'For the many who have had great care from nurses, I say the Vision is about ensuring we continue to progress and improve our offer. For the few who have experienced poor nursing care, I want to reassure them that we recognise their disappointment, and the Vision will put in place actions to address the issues that

...

There is much to like in Scotland’s Nursing 2030 Vision, but the success will be in the implementation.

As the name suggests, the document, published in July, sets out a strategy for what nursing in Scotland needs to look like in 2030; it considers what is done well and what should change, and how to deal with future demands such as the ageing population and workforce.


Scotland’s chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen. Picture: Mike Wilkinson

Reassurance

Scotland’s chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen states in her introduction: 'For the many who have had great care from nurses, I say the Vision is about ensuring we continue to progress and improve our offer. For the few who have experienced poor nursing care, I want to reassure them that we recognise their disappointment, and the Vision will put in place actions to address the issues that lead to poor care.'

The Nursing 2030 Vision has been driven by Professor McQueen, and informed by a huge consultation exercise involving more than 3,000 nurses, students and other stakeholders. It is short, 28 pages including covers, and backed by a detailed action plan, which is due to be published later this year.

The document comes as the NHS Scotland, like the rest of the UK, faces major challenges. As well as the impact of demographic change, there is a huge reform agenda, including the flagship health and social care integration policy, which is still bedding in. Public sector resources are tight, and there are specific problems, for example with nurse recruitment and retention, that add to pressures in the system.

The Vision makes it clear that nurse leadership is part of the solution, explicitly saying that more nurses will be:

  • Taking the lead on national initiatives, influencing and driving transformational change in how services are designed and delivered.
  • Working with communities to redesign services.
  • Collaborating on individual episodes and packages of care, to assess people’s needs, make plans, deliver or supervise care delivery and evaluate outcomes.

The document stresses that nurses will receive help to develop the skills they need to do this, for example through a 'transforming roles' programme, which focuses on advanced nursing practice and aims to develop nursing leadership.

Leadership role

Few would dispute the Vision’s overarching themes of personalising care, preparing nurses for future needs and roles, and supporting nurses, but there is a difference between writing something in a policy document and making sure it happens, and is perceived to be happening, on the ground.

RCN Scotland associate director for professional practice Ellen Hudson warns that nurse leaders must be empowered to undertake their leadership role.

'The senior charge nurse and the community team lead are in a pivotal position to improve care; they should be at the heart of care, coordinating and directing it. But to an extent, we need to refocus,' she says.

'The problem is that senior nurses are given responsibilities, but then have to go to another manager for sign off. The senior charge nurse and community team lead should be able to make decisions about how to improve care, whether that’s about nutrition, cleaning or clinical care; we've got to get that back.'

Ms Hudson commends the work done through previous policies such as the Scottish Government's 2008 senior charge nurse review report, which recognised the role of the senior charge nurse in determining quality of care, and sought to enable clinical leaders to do their jobs effectively. Specific measures included ensuring that senior charge nurses were not counted 'in the numbers', so that they could lead. This, however, has not been implemented everywhere.

'We still have senior charge nurses carrying case loads and providing hands-on care, while taking on their leadership role as well,' says Ms Hudson.

She adds that senior nurses need protected time so they can lead, for example, through role modelling and setting the tone for clinical settings. There also needs to be more emphasis on giving all nurses access to continuing education and professional development.

'There are laudable statements in the Vision, but we want to see them put into practice,' she says. 'We need to make senior posts attractive. Where there is strong, visible leadership, the patients, their families and staff know it.'

Further information


Jennifer Trueland is a freelance journalist

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursingmanagement.com
  • Bi-monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs