The current barriers to entering the nursing and midwifery professions in Scotland are to be investigated as part of a review commissioned by the country’s chief nursing officer.
The work, which will seek to identify best practice for widening access into the professions, will be led by Professor Paul Martin, depute principal and depute vice chancellor of the University of West of Scotland.
“The final report will identify best practice and current innovations which maximise access across the education and employment sectors”
Speaking on his role in the new review, Professor Martin highlighted the importance of the work and said he believed more flexible access to the profession would help to ensure the future of the workforce. He is due to report the findings of the work later this year.
“It is an honour to be asked to lead this important work stream. The nursing and midwifery professions remain at the heart of health and social care provision, championing the needs and rights of patients their families and communities,” he said.
A statement announcing the review did not go into further detail on specific ideas that might be covered, for example, apprenticeships and other new routes into the profession that are being introduced in England.
But CNO for Scotland Professor Fiona McQueen said: “The final report will identify best practice and current innovations which maximise access across the education and employment sectors. It will also identify current obstacles to nursing and midwifery careers, both in terms of ambition and access.
“The recommendations will cover actions and targets to improve access to nursing and midwifery education and careers,” she said.
“The 2030 Nursing Vision is a real opportunity for nurses, student nurses and other key stakeholder to engage and make their voice heard”
She also said the work would form an important part of her forthcoming strategy for nursing, the 2030 Nursing Vision, which is due to be published in the summer.
“The 2030 Nursing Vision is a real opportunity for nurses, student nurses and other key stakeholder to engage and make their voice heard and truly shape the future of this profession,” she added.
Speaking at the launch of the review on access today at Edinburgh Napier University, Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said the work would build on the success of the country’s workforce planning.
“There is excellent work going on across Scotland to meet nursing and midwifery workforce demands through our evidence based intake planning processes, commitment to high quality higher education programmes and our continuing support for students,” she said.
Ms Robison also stated that the government in Scotland remained committed to providing free university tuition for nurses and midwives, and to protecting the non-means tested bursary.
She described these measures as “essential” to ensuring a steady supply of trainees into the profession.
Earlier this week, the Scottish government launched a consultation on plans to introduce nursing and midwifery safe staffing legislation.