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Exclusive: Europe-wide nursing strategy will set workforce priorities

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A “landmark” strategy setting out agreed priorities for nursing and midwifery across Europe is due to be launched later this month.

Health ministers from the World Health Organization’s European region will meet on 15 September in Lithuania, where they are expected to formally accept the five-year strategy and its four priority action areas for the workforce.

“It’s the first time the European region of WHO has ever done anything like this with nursing and midwifery”

Jean White

Its priorities include scaling up and transforming education and training, workforce planning and optimising skill mix, ensuring positive work environments, and promoting evidence-based practice and innovation.

The four UK governments will use the WHO strategy to devise policies most relevant to their own workforce, based on advice from their chief nursing officers.  

CNO for Wales Jean White, who acted as an advisor on the strategy, told Nursing Times she thought it would cement public health and the prevention agenda as a key area for future UK nursing policy.

She suggested the strategy – called European strategic directions for nursing and midwifery towards Health 2020 – would also lead to a greater policy focus on improving career structures.

Jean White

Jean White

It could result in standardised requirements for advanced nurse practitioner roles across the UK, based on guidance already in place in Wales, she added.

“This is a real landmark for us. It’s the first time the European region of WHO has ever done anything like this with nursing and midwifery,” she said.

“It’s different from having a declaration, which says we are committed to supporting nurses, to actually saying we are getting behind a set of activities over the next five years that will drive nurses and midwives collectively in the region,” she said.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Most importantly, is the UK going to follow this strategy? Comments from RCN, NHSE, NMC, etc. please!

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