Nurses increasingly managing entire episodes of care, working across different settings, and providing the evidence base for staffing levels are some of the key issues to be taken forward, as part of a new vision for the profession in Scotland.
The new aims for the profession in Scotland over the next decade to 2030 have been drawn up by the country’s chief nursing officer Professor Fiona McQueen.
“It is much more likely as we move through the next decade that people will find their episodes of care being managed exclusively by nurses”
CNO’s vision for nursing to 2030
They cover three key themes – personalising care, preparing nurses for future needs and roles, and supporting nurses.
Professor McQueen said engagement work with nurses in drawing up the document revealed that, “while nursing is perceived very positively and as an attractive career option, it also faces challenges on a range of fronts”.
In the future, there needed to be “high-quality, compassionate, efficient and effective health and social care systems that provide accessible and responsive services”, she said.
“Within that context, we need nurses who are prepared to work flexibly across all settings and agencies, taking their place in multi-disciplinary, multi-agency teams – sometimes leading the teams, sometimes providing support, but always delivering to improve outcomes,” she said.
She said the vision was “not about promoting the profession of nursing: it is about preparing a nursing workforce that will be ready and able to meet people’s needs as we move towards 2030”.
“Specific activity to embed technological competence in undergraduate nursing curricula [is needed]”
CNO’s vision for nursing to 2030
Changes among the profession include the fact that nursing is taking on more of a leadership role, focussing increasingly on prevention and will likely work for longer before being able to retire.
“It is much more likely, as we move through the next decade, that people will find their episodes of care being managed exclusively by nurses working in multi-disciplinary and multi-agency teams that straddle health and social care and include the voluntary and independent sectors,” said the document.
In addition, it noted that people were living for longer – and with more health conditions – while technology, including social media, is changing the way services work.
The “cornerstone” of nursing up to 2030, it stated, would be providing “a personalised, rights-based service embedded within a caring and compassionate professional relationship with individuals and communities”.
Nurses also need to be prepared so they are comfortable working with more technology in the future, said the document.
“Measures to promote nurses’ competence and confidence in this vital area of practice, including specific activity to embed technological competence in undergraduate nursing curricula, will be set out in our action plan,” it added.
“We asked thousands of people what they think the nursing profession should look like by 2030 and how to deal with the changing demands we face”
Meanwhile, the document – titled Nursing 2030 Vision: Promoting Confident, Competent and Collaborative Nursing for Scotland’s Future – sets out the changes needed to prepare nurse for future roles.
This includes Scotland’s work to legislate for staffing levels, and the “need to ensure nurses are educated about, and skilled in, recognising issues around nurse staffing levels and presenting evidence-based cases to ensure we have the right number of staff”.
It added that an ongoing review of barriers to entering the profession in Scotland had revealed potential recruits may be “harbouring false or outdated notions of what being a nurse means”, because they do not understand the breadth of the role, the diversity of work and range of settings where nursing takes place.
Meanwhile, it said new standards for education that are being drawn up by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and will be brought in from 2018 “seem likely to propose a shift in expectations of what registrants can deliver”.
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Finally, the vision stresses that it is vital to ensure nurses are supported in their day-to-day work and to progress in their careers.
Ensuring access to professional development, helping nurses maintain their own health and wellbeing, and ensuring nurses receive supervision in practice were all key parts of this, said the document.
“This is a really exciting piece of work. We asked thousands of people what they think the nursing profession should look like by 2030 and how to deal with the changing demands we face,” said Professor McQueen.
“The Nursing 2030 Vision demonstrates this government’s commitment to this incredible profession, and together we can ensure that our profession is fit for the future,” she added.
A more detailed action plan on implementing the vision is due to be published in the future, said the Scottish government.