Action is needed to address a shortage of nurses across the entire health and social care system, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland has said.
Staff need a “meaningful” pay rise to address the issue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the nursing union said.
The RCN, which represents more than 40,000 nurses in Scotland, said there has been increasing pressure on staff in hospitals, care homes and elsewhere.
Officials said they are pleased with the Scottish Government’s discussions around an early start to a new pay deal.
Unions have been campaigning for the three-year Agenda for Change pay deal to be renegotiated in light of the pandemic.
Theresa Fyffe, director of RCN Scotland, said: “Nursing staff, whatever setting they work in, dedicate themselves to those in their care and have been working under pressure for too long.
“With experienced staff saying they are considering leaving the profession, it is clear that action is needed to ensure nursing staff are paid fairly for the work that they do.
“The RCN is campaigning for fair pay for nursing.
“We ask the cabinet secretary to deliver on her commitment to a fair pay settlement for Agenda for Change staff in 2021-22 by meeting the 12.5% increase our members deserve.”