Widening access to nursing and midwifery

Health Secretary Shona Robison.
Health Secretary Shona Robison.

Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer has commissioned a review into widening access to nursing and midwifery education and careers.

The review will be led by Depute Principal and Depute Vice Chancellor of the University of West of Scotland, Professor Paul Martin CBE who will work with key stakeholders to identify best practice and current barriers to entering the professions, and to make recommendations to enhance accessibility to a wide range of aspiring nurses and midwives.

The Chief Nursing Officer, Professor Fiona McQueen was joined by Health Secretary Shona Robison to formally launch the review at Edinburgh Napier University’s Simulation and Clinical Skills Centre, where they met current students.

Ms Robison said: “Nurses have a vital role to play in achieving our vision for health and social care in Scotland and are at the heart of our NHS – it is important that we continue to maximise the opportunities to pursue careers in nursing and midwifery.

“There is excellent work going on across Scotland to meet nursing and midwifery workforce demands through our evidence based intake planning processes, commitment to high quality higher education programmes and our continuing support for students. We want to build on that success.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to free tuition fees and protecting the non-means tested, non-repayable nursing and midwifery student bursary – which we believe is essential to ensure a steady supply of trainees into the profession. This commission aims to maximise that investment.”

Professor McQueen said: “I’m delighted that Paul Martin has accepted my invitation to lead this commission. Paul brings a wealth of experience and expertise from higher education, practice and policy.

“The final report will identify best practice and current innovations which maximise access across the education and employment sectors. It will also identify current obstacles to nursing and midwifery careers, both in terms of ambition and access. The recommendations will cover actions and targets to improve access to Nursing and Midwifery education and careers.

“The commission will form an important strand of the 2030 Nursing Vision which aims to shape the future of the nursing profession. The 2030 Nursing Vision is a real opportunity for nurses, student nurses and other key stakeholder to engage and make their voice heard and truly shape the future of this profession.”

Professor Martin said: “It is an honour to be asked to lead this important work stream. The Nursing and Midwifery professions remain at the heart of health and social care provision, championing the needs and rights of patients their families and communities.

“Flexible access to the opportunities that a nursing midwifery education brings, and the career opportunities that this opens, helps to ensure the future nursing and midwifery workforce. I share CNO’s ambitions to achieve such clarity and flexibility for the profession.”