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New framework for Scottish nurse leaders on integrated care boards

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Senior nurses working to integrate health and social care in Scotland will have access to a new set of tools which outline the key skills and knowledge they need to carry out their role.

The new competency framework, published on Friday, has been designed to support nurses who are board members of the 31 integration authorities in Scotland, to develop in their roles.

“We are hopeful that these competencies reflect the skills and abilities required to function effectively in this complex environment.”

Eddie Docherty

Integration authorities are partnerships between local councils and health boards delivering health and social care services in the country and there is an established nursing seat on every board to support decision making. 

The integration authority nurse board member is a relatively new role and requires a range of skills to help ensure the quality and safety of patient care in Scotland.

Therefore, the Royal College of Nursing, the Scottish Executive Nurse Directors group (SEND) and NHS Education for Scotland (NES), in collaboration with integration authority nurse board members, have created a set of competencies to support them.

Those behind the framework have said the competencies will help to provide national consistency on what is required in the nurse board member role and will give ongoing support to the nurse leaders currently in post.

The competencies and proficiencies set out in the new document focus on nurse leadership.

According to the framework, nurses in the board post must have advanced knowledge and understanding of integrated health and care environments and work effectively with others across agency and professional boundaries.

In addition, nurses must provide professional leadership within the integrated authority in relation to professional, financial and legal frameworks, the document noted.

“We wish to support the education and development of nurses working across Scotland and in all environments”

Karen Wilson

The document added that those in post should work to influence decision making and change at both a local and national level and provide strategic guidance to support organisational learning and improvement.

Those behind the framework also want nurses to provide professional, clinical leadership to ensure that safe, high quality services are delivered and that the potential risk for adverse events is reduced.

Staff must also communicate and engage effectively and demonstrate personal leadership qualities while motivating and inspiring others, the document added.

Commenting on the new framework, director at RCN Scotland, Theresa Fyffe, said integration had radically changed how health and social care services were planned and delivered in Scotland.

“We know from working with IA nurse board members since the launch of integration in 2015 just how challenging their role can be,” she said. 

“They are in the midst of an ever-shifting landscape requiring new ways of working with many partners who may have different priorities, organisational cultures and ways of doing things.

“This new framework will help them navigate these sometimes-tricky waters with greater confidence.”

Eddie Docherty, director of nursing at NHS Dumfries and Galloway and NHS 24, representing SEND, said the framework “reflects the importance we all place on the voice of nursing within the integrated landscape”.

He said: “We are hopeful that these competencies reflect the skills and abilities required to function effectively in this complex environment.”

University of the West of Scotland

Karen Wilson

Karen Wilson

Meanwhile, director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professions at NES, Karen Wilson, said: “At NHS Education for Scotland, we wish to support the education and development of nurses working across Scotland and in all environments.

“That is why we were keen to be involved in developing this resource for nurses working in integrated authorities, which will support them in this important role.”

The skills and competencies required for this nursing board post have been developed from the lessons and experiences shared by current integrated authority nurse board members.

They follow a report from the Ministerial Strategic Group for Health and Community Care in February, which emphasised the need to better understand, co-ordinate and utilise “the key role of clinical and professional leadership in supporting the integrated authority to make decisions that are safe and in accordance with required standards and law”.

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