Nursing 2030 vision

The Chief Nursing Officer's long term strategy to shape the future of the nursing workforce.

A Message from the Chief Nursing Officer

Our Vision sets a direction for nursing across Scotland through to 2030. It will be followed by a detailed action plan describing how we intend to make the ideas in the Vision a reality over the short, medium and long terms.

This is a shared Vision. It has been shaped with the nurses and student nurses of Scotland and other stakeholders, including members of the general public, though a wide engagement process in the latter half of 2016 (see Chapter 2).

The engagement process demonstrated that while nursing is perceived very positively and as an attractive career option, it also faces challenges on a range of fronts. Our Vision attempts to build on the former to address the latter.

It recognises that when nurses are happy and valued - they feel engaged, motivated and supported in delivering personalised care based in human rights - patient outcomes improve and services flourish.

Change is never easy, and some of the changes the Vision calls for will take time to deliver. That is why our focus is on 2030. We want the ideas and aspirations described by the Vision and its associated initiatives to be introduced, accepted, put into action and become embedded in nursing culture, and that all takes time.

But we should be clear that the ambitions and values of the Vision should become the norm in nursing in Scotland, and we are prepared to put in the hard work over time to make that happen.

We are not starting from scratch. There is much innovative and positive work in nursing already being taken forward throughout Scotland. Action on delivering against this Vision has started through, for example, the review I have commissioned on supporting and widening access to nursing education and careers, the Transforming Roles programme and the national Excellence in Care framework. And clear expectations and standards for nurses have been set out through the Nursing & Midwifery Council's code and education standards, and other important guidance.

In addition, I acknowledge the work that has been taken forward in previous years by my predecessors. The innovative and imaginative initiatives of Scotland's chief nurses, which emphasised above all the central importance of caring, compassion, critical thinking and decision-making skills to nurses' relationships with patients, families and communities, are reflected strongly in the Vision's ethos and priorities. I honour their contributions and feel proud and privileged to now have the opportunity to take the work forward.

People are entitled to expect nurses to be caring and compassionate and to have the attitudes, values and skills required to provide excellent care. Our Vision and the actions already underway in Scotland aim to ensure nursing's many attributes are harnessed and channelled to enhance population health and wellbeing, and improve people's outcomes and experiences of services.

Our Vision reflects national policy drivers in Scotland, which signal the need for transformational sustainable services that:

  • put people at the centre of health and social care services
  • deliver the right care, in the right places, at the right time
  • enable people to take more responsibility for their health and wellbeing
  • ensure quality is at the heart of service delivery
  • focus on prevention, population health and links between health and economic prosperity
  • make best use of resources.

Delivering on this agenda calls for high-quality, compassionate, efficient and effective health and social care systems that provide accessible and responsive services.

Within that context, we need nurses who are prepared to work flexibly across all settings and agencies, taking their place in multidisciplinary, multiagency teams - sometimes leading the teams, sometimes providing support, but always delivering to improve outcomes.

I want this Vision to speak to the people of Scotland. For the many who have had great care from nurses, I say the Vision is about ensuring we continue to progress and improve our offer. For the few who have experienced poor nursing care, I want to reassure them that we recognise their disappointment, and the Vision will put in place actions to address the issues that lead to poor care.

I also want the Vision to speak to nurses in all care settings across Scotland. I want it to make them feel proud to be nurses, and to have hope and confidence in their future. I want them to see in it the prospect of exciting career options, supported by appropriate education, continuous professional development opportunities and supervision. In particular, I want it to speak to them about how we are going to support their critical thinking and decision-making skills to enable them to provide caring, compassionate, personalised and rights-based care.

And I want everyone to connect with, agree with and be enthused by this Vision. They should see it as challenging, but should also recognise the rewards it promises for the population and Scotland's nurses.

This is 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.

The Vision is an expression of confidence in, and great expectations for, nurses now and in the future. It puts in place the foundations from which they can build exciting and productive careers in nursing, careers in which they will work flexibly across boundary lines, acquire new skills and knowledge to support people's health and wellbeing and challenge inequality, and in which they will act as positive advocates and role models for their patients and communities.

I fully support this shared Vision for nursing's future, and commend it to you.

Professor Fiona McQueen
Chief Nursing Officer


Email: Rachel Aitchison,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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