Chief Nursing Officer

CNO May Update

May 12, 2017 by 5 Comments | Category Uncategorized

“From Boardroom to bedside” was the title of my first blog which I posted in June 2014 when Nurse Director in NHS Ayrshire and Arran. I posed the question of how a board Nurse Director brings what’s important to clinical practice and patients, to decisions made by the NHS Board, and how Board level decisions translated into what that means to individual nurses in everyday practice and the care of patients. The language I used (patients rather than people) was interesting – although it was only three years ago, however what the weekly blog posts did was help me reflect on my everyday work and how it impacts on practice, but more importantly gave another avenue for people to make contact with me and comment on what mattered to them.

So, it may be a long time in coming, but I’ve decided to post a monthly blog as CNO to help paint a picture of the issues I face in my day to day work and how they connect with healthcare delivery. I do hope people find them helpful – and if not that you comment on what you would find helpful and make contact with me.

Although this first posting is on International Nurses’ Day, I intend to post about all areas of my portfolio which includes Allied Health Professions, Healthcare Science, Regulation, Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection, as well as Nursing & Midwifery practice.

So, looking back over the last month or so I’ve had the opportunity to meet a wide range of people as well as engage with a variety of areas of practice.

A catch up with Karen Reid, the Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate gave us an opportunity to talk through what some of the key issues for staffing of care homes are, as well as reflect on some of the real improvements that have been made to the health and wellbeing of older people living in our Care Homes across Scotland. The importance of this sector is often overshadowed by the NHS and ensuring practitioners are aware of the opportunities to effect change and really get to know their residents and their families and make a difference to their lives, will help people see what career options are available.

A key aspect of the work within government is supporting the creation of policy or legislation, and April saw milestones in three key pieces of work. At a visit to Forth Valley the Cabinet Secretary launched the consultation on introducing legislation on safe staffing. She was able to see first-hand how the development of the nursing workforce and workload planning tools can be used to help guide nurse staffing levels, along with measures of quality of care. It’s really important that we capture a good response to the consultation so please have a look at the consultation and give your feedback. There are also consultation events around the country that you may be able to attend.

The next day the Cabinet Secretary visited Edinburgh Napier University to launch a commission into widening access into nurse education. I have asked Paul Martin – a former CNO –  to chair a group reviewing this very important area to determine how we can build on the work that we already do to widen access (such as supporting our Healthcare Support Workers into year two of nurse education). At the same time the group will also reflect on the support that our graduate nursing workforce needs to deliver excellence in care. Get involved with the conversation: #cnowacom.

The third event that the Cabinet Secretary attended (at least from my Directorate’s perspective) was to provide the keynote address at Murrayfield to an audience who were celebrating the work that AHPs do to improve outcomes for the people of Scotland. The Chief Health Professions Officer, Jacqui Lunday Johnstone has been leading the development of the Active and Independent Living Improvement Programme (AILIP)  and the event marked the showcasing of how far we’ve come and the real difference that transformational practice can make to people’s lives.

Plane in Orkney

There are many joyful moments in my day to day work, but best of all is having the time to visit practitioners in practice. In April I had the opportunity to visit Orkney to learn more about the real challenges practitioners face in providing services in a remote location. I was also able to visit North Ronaldsay where I met Bernie Holbrook, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, who is the only resident healthcare practitioner on the island. This highlighted the essential work that such nurses do to keeping safe and sustainable services.

Fiona McQueen and Bernie Holbrook

Finally, two other events are worth a mention. May saw the launch of the Step Count Challenge – and my Directorate is busy working in several teams trying to get our steps up – a real opportunity to increase our physical activity and have some fun at the same time.

If you’ve missed out check out the website as there will be an autumn challenge later on in the year.

And who couldn’t have been impressed by the broadcasting of the world of QEUH; ‘Scotland’s super-hospital’ all of the staff were portrayed beautifully. I think the programme brought to life all that is good about our NHS and there is no doubt in my mind that the professionalism that was shown on our screens from all staff, is the professionalism and dedication that the whole team across Scotland provides every single day.

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow

The Scottish Parliament also had a Member’s Debate on Wednesday 10 May Celebrating International Nurses Day 12 May which called on everyone “to mark International Nurses Day in some way, whether it be by sharing messages of support on social media, learning more about the hard work nurses do, or fundraising for a charity that supports nursing staff.”

So on this International Nurses Day, a huge thank you to all who work in our health and care services across Scotland, who all go the extra mile every day.



  • Mairi Armstrong says:


    Good to be informed on some of the detail of your role and also be directed to other important work that is currently taking place.

    Kind Regards


  • Pat O'Connor says:

    Thanks Fiona Great update

  • Deborah baldie says:

    Love this. Really helps keep me connected with national developments. Keep them coming !

  • Lynda Bradford says:

    how pleasing to see a mention of social care and its contribution. many of us working in that field sadly still encounter unhelpful attitudes of nurses ” too posh to wash”

  • Elaine Hosie says:

    Lovely reading your blog and learning more of the good work you are doing as CNO. You taught me many things which were of great value when I worked for you at Hairmyres Trust Offices.

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