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Leading Better Care: Report of the Senior Charge Nurse Review and Clinical Quality Indicators Project

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Preface by the Chief Nursing Officer

Photo of Paul Martin Chief Nursing Officer

Providing safe, effective care that enhances patients' experiences of services is a central driver of Scottish Government policy for the NHS, as set out in Better Health, Better Care. This aspiration is echoed in Delivering Care, Enabling Health, which provides the underpinning elements for rights-based, values-based nursing, midwifery and allied health professional services.

The delivery of the vision for the NHS described in these two documents will depend to a large extent on strong and inspirational clinical leadership. It will require clinical leaders who are highly skilled, highly knowledgeable, highly motivated and highly recognisable as the leaders of their teams.

It is in this context that I launched the Review of the Senior Charge Nurse/Midwife Role and committed to working jointly with NHS board nurse directors to develop a core set of Clinical Quality Indicators ( CQIs) for nursing and midwifery. The projects ran in parallel, complementing and supporting each other.

This report from the projects gives us the impetus and the evidence we need to enable us to reposition the senior charge nurse/midwife as the arbiter and guarantor of patients' experiences in clinical areas. Empowered by their new role definition and equipped with the CQIs, senior charge nurses/midwives will be the guardians of clinical standards and quality of care for patients and families.

They will be the visible embodiment of clinical leadership in NHS settings, coordinating patient care, marshalling and inspiring the nursing or midwifery team and advocating on patients' behalf with members of the multidisciplinary team. They will also engage more explicitly with efforts to meet strategic objectives at organisational and national level and will enjoy proper recognition for the vital contribution they make.

But the ultimate beneficiaries of the actions we have set in place in this report will be patients and families accessing NHS services. The development of strong nursing and midwifery clinical leadership in the NHS, backed by quality indicators that set benchmarks for service delivery, will provide the basis for improved patient outcomes, improved experiences of care and improved opportunities for patients and families to have a real say in the way their care is planned and delivered.

I am grateful to all those who have led and contributed to the projects and the development of the report. By redesigning and re-energising the role of the senior charge nurse/midwife, I believe we have created a very powerful driver for positive change in the NHS.

Paul Martin
Chief Nursing Officer