Modernising Nursing Careers: Setting the Direction

Modernising Nursing Careers

The purpose of this report

No one can doubt that health care services across the United Kingdom are going through a period of profound change. More change will be needed if we are to continue to provide a health service that is free according to need and that keeps the trust and support of the public. Wherever they work, nurses will be aware of how health care is changing and wondering what it all means for their careers.

The four United Kingdom chief nursing officers established the modernising nursing careers initiative in 2005/6. It forms part of an overarching programme of work covering all the main health care professionals. A UK-wide group of nursing leaders formed the Modernising Nursing Careers Board, chaired by Christine Beasley, Chief Nursing Officer for England ( See Annex 1 for membership). This report is the outcome of their discussions, a series of national stakeholder workshops, and the views of nursing colleagues from all parts of the health services across the four countries and including the independent sector. The report is for frontline nurses, nurse leaders, education and workforce planners, commissioners and employers to use locally to develop nursing careers.

The four countries will take forward the actions in this report to modernise nursing career structures throughout the United Kingdom.

This report sets the direction for modernising nursing careers. The priorities focus on the careers of registered nurses, but it is recognised that nurses do not work in isolation and nursing teams include more than registered nurses. Nursing careers also need to take account of changes in the careers of other professional groups. Importantly, this report recognises that careers take different forms: while some will choose to climb an upward ladder of increasing responsibility and higher rewards, many other nurses choose a more lateral career journey, moving within and between care groups and settings. Our actions are for all nurses no matter what the nature of their career.

Nursing careers must respond to the profound changes taking place in the structure of health care delivery and the need for nurses to exercise leadership to bring about change. We hope this report will open the way for flexible, diverse and rewarding careers for all nurses.

This report is only the beginning. More work will need to be done by many stakeholders to take forward the priorities and actions set out at the end of this report.

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