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James Buchan


PhD, DPM, MA (hons)

James Buchan PhD, DPM, MA (hons) is a leading international expert on nurse workforce policy and planning. Dr. Buchan currently holds several positions in the United Kingdom (UK), including as a Senior Fellow at the Health Foundation, an independent think tank in London; Adjunct Professor at the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Nursing at the University of Technology in Sydney; and a Visiting Professor at the School of Nursing, University of Edinburgh. Dr. Buchan has worked extensively as a consultant on nursing workforce policy and planning in over sixty countries in Europe, Asia and the Pacific, for governments and international agencies, such as the WHO and the World Bank, adding a nursing perspective to important global health discussions and bringing an evidence-based perspective to policymakers.

Dr. Buchan’s work focuses on national and international nurse labor markets, mobility, retention and deployment, pay and reward, and workforce sustainability. His background includes roles working for government agencies in Scotland and in Australia; and for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in the UK. He has also been a Regional Adviser on Human Resources for Health for the WHO. His series of papers on Magnet hospitals, which he began publishing in the early 1990s, have impacted the evolution of the Magnet® model in the UK and motivated the first Magnet-recognized hospital outside the US. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was seconded temporarily to the Department of Health, Scotland, working on health workforce scale up and sustainability issues.

He is currently a member of the Scottish Government Ministerial Taskforce on Nursing and Midwifery, a member of the Australian Commonwealth (federal) Government National Nursing Workforce Strategy Steering Committee, and a member of the Research Advisory Committee of the Rosemary Bryant Research Centre, University of South Australia. In recent years, he has also been working as a consultant for the International Council of Nurses (ICN), and is co-author of the recent series of annual global nurse workforce reviews published by ICN, including the ICN 2023 report: Recover to Rebuild: Investing in the Nursing Workforce for Health System Effectiveness, which underscore the nursing shortage as a global health emergency, advocating for improved work environments and nurse staffing especially in light of the devastation caused by the coronavirus.

Dr. Buchan holds a PhD from Robert Gordon University Business School and a MA (Honours) from the University of Aberdeen. He is Editor Emeritus of Human Resources for Health, the peer reviewed journal affiliated with WHO, and is on the editorial board of several nursing and health policy journals. Dr. Buchan is a Trustee of the Florence Nightingale Foundation and a Trustee of the Aberdeen FC Community Trust. He is a Harkness Fellow, having worked at the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania, where he retains a Fellowship.

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