The development of our national nursing strategy
‘for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, even in your dreams’…
Although Gibran’s words were about parents and children, these words have resonance within me about the future of our profession.
We’ve come such a long way in recent decades, and made such a difference to people’s lives as a consequence of that. If this growth and development is to continue, then I think our next Nursing Strategy (yet to be named) must prepare the profession to respond to the needs of our communities in a way that we’ve not yet experienced or thought of.
Who Would Have Thought?
Would Elsie Stephenson, who set up the first Nursing School (in Edinburgh) in a university have envisaged our all graduate profession and the impact our Nursing Schools and our new graduates across Scotland are making to reduced morbidity and mortality?
Would we have imagined that senior nurses – both clinicians and academics would have had such an impact on reduction in HAI?
Would we have imagined the Advanced Practice roles that many practitioners are now taking on, making sure that services to local communities continue to be safe and effective?
Would our predecessors be surprised that at Board level, Boards are talking about the delivery of compassionate care, and nurse staffing levels?
What I Know for Sure
I’m not sure that we could have foreseen any of the above, but what I know for sure, is that in 2030 if we are to continue to take our place in supporting communities to improve their health, and provide compassionate care, it is likely to be in a way that few us can imagine.
But what I also know for sure is that we will be there supporting our communities, putting professionalism and compassion and the centre of all that we do.
There may well be new professional groups, but for sure we’ll be working in strengthened multi-disciplinary teams, supported by digital communication.
Reason for a Vision
And as I go around Scotland, I hear about amazing pieces of practice and leadership that has transformed care, so it is vital that we make the connections across our profession and build on where we have come from and put concrete plans in place to support the nurses of the future to be sure footed and competent, but also able to change and grow to ensure we continue to meet the needs of our communities. It’s for that reason I think we need a coherent vision of what action we need to take in the coming years, to ensure nurses are prepared for the future.
The timing is right- we have a new government with high ambitions for the public sector, and health in particular; the implementation of the National Clinical Strategy, that has an overarching approach but based on a strengthen primary care and equality of mental health with physical health.
There are high expectations of all professions in delivering out of hours care, as well as our other national strategies, but nursing in particular, being with people and their loved ones 24/7 do have a particular role to play. That means making sure we create an environment where nurses can flourish and provide safe, effective person centred care becomes all the more essential.
We will have legislation to support safe levels of staffing, so we now need to create a vision that delivers not only the right number of nurses, but with the right skills.
Setting the direction is full of promise that there will be real and meaningful support of our current workforce from a post graduate education and development perspective; that will become all the more crucial if we are to prepare the profession for a future that will certainly be different.
Shaping the Vision
That’s why I think it’s important that the whole profession, as well as our communities can contribute to and shape that vision. And just as we know that care delivery will be different, I’m keen to engage with the professions in a different way.
Whilst I think nothing can beat face to face conversations, as we had with our Future Conversations work; I’d like to build on that by publishing a regular blog so that I can share what is happening nationally and hopefully get feedback on that;
hold twitter chats;
and as NHS Highland did last week – have Webinars to help every nurse in Scotland to have a part in shaping the future.
We have a real opportunity to shape our future; whatever role we carry out, we are all linked with a common purpose – to support people improve their health and deliver compassionate care.
Please look out for ways you can contribute to that future and let me know what you think.
This week’s blog was by @fionacmcqueen (Professor Fiona McQueen), Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland, Scottish Government.