A tartan incorporating the colours of Scotland’s national nurse uniform has been created by nursing students and is the first of its kind to celebrate the profession. The woven cloth features shades of blue with burgundy detail to echo the official outfits worn by NHS nurses, healthcare assistants and student nurses across the country. The tartan was conceived by Nursing Studies students at the University of Edinburgh, home to the UK’s first nursing degree, the UK’s first nursing research unit, and Europe’s first Professor of Nursing Studies. The Nursing Now – Edinburgh Nursing Studies tartan symbolises identity, kinship and solidarity for nurses, according to its registration with the Scottish Register of Tartans.
The colourful project has been developed in partnership with Nursing Now – a global campaign established in 2018 to promote nursing and its vital role in improving health and transforming heathcare – and as part of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, which was designated by the World Health Organisation in 2020 to celebrate and enhance nursing. Jamie Smith, a nurse at NHS Lothian and a PhD student at the University, and Georgia Duffy, a former student at Edinburgh and also a nurse in practice at NHS Lothian, initiated the idea for the tartan and its design and said: “Tartan is such a symbol of kinship which is synonymous with Scotland. We thought by creating this special tartan just for nurses it could help recognise their contribution – a way to support those who are always there to support us.”
A range of tartan merchandise – including facemasks, lambswool scarfs, shawls, stoles, wraps and tartan ties have been developed. People can also show their support for nurses with a charity tartan ribbon available for purchase on the Nursing tartan website. Georgia Duffy, NHS Lothian nurse said: “Capturing the essence of nurses and nursing was paramount to us on the creation of the tartan. Using the national uniform colours achieves this through highlighting the diversity within the workforce. Anyone can wear the tartan and we hope everyone will and can.”
Sales of the products will help raise funds for projects which will equip nurses and midwives to tackle global healthcare challenges. Proceeds will also support The Burdett Trust for Nursing, a charitable trust which funds a range of projects to empower nurses and make significant improvements to the patient care environment. The Burdett Trust provides support for the Edinburgh Global Nursing Initiative – a University project launched in 2020 which connects nurses worldwide to share research, innovations and knowledge to boost people’s health outcomes. The global initiative’s pioneering projects have a focus on innovating nursing and midwifery in areas where health systems are affected by challenges such as disease outbreaks, poverty and conflict.