Band 7 and 8 nurses are being invited to apply for an expert training programme, as part of national efforts to improve care for the growing number of older patients seeking treatment from the NHS.
Health Education England is inviting nurses working in older people’s services to apply to join its inaugural Older Person’s Nurse Fellowship programme.
The national education body said it wanted the programme to create a “cadre of nurse leaders who are recognised experts in the care of older people”.
“HEE recognises the importance of developing and training nurses caring for older people with complex needs so that they have the expertise and skills required to excel in their role”
The fellowship will be a specialist education programme, targeted at nurses able to demonstrate experience of working in older person’s healthcare at a senior level – such as clinical nurse specialists or community matrons.
The one year, part-time fellowship will consist of a mix of distance and online learning, plus study days, trips and events at King’s College London.
There will be two cohorts of 12 students. One will commence studying in November 2014 and finish in October 2015, and the second will begin in March 2015 and finish in February 2016.
The 24 students who make up the first two cohorts will have their programme fees funded by Health Education England and up to a maximum of 15 days salary backfill paid to their employer.
Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, director of nursing at Health Education England, said the training and education body recognised the “importance of developing and training nurses caring for older people with complex needs”.
She added: “The Older Person’s Nurse Fellow Programme aims to develop a cadre of nurse leaders who are recognised experts in the care of older people and who have national influence and are able to drive change so that the care of older people is compassionate and of the highest possible quality.”
The creation of the fellowship programme was announced in May by Health Education England in its annual mandate from the government, along with a number of other measures to boost nurse training in older patient and dementia care, as reported by Nursing Times.
It said it would review the content of pre-registration degrees to ensure all new nurses had the right skills to work with older people and that it would develop a bespoke older persons’ nurse postgraduate qualification training programme.
The measures are in part a response to recommendations made by the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
The Francis report warned that the growing number of older patients should be recognised urgently and called for the creation of new role to take the lead role in nursing this group in hospitals.
Specially trained “older person’s nurses” should lead improvements in care on wards with significant numbers of elderly patients, the seminal report said in February 2013.
Although rejecting the new role, the government said in its response to the report that it would “go further” by aiming to strengthen the focus on the complex needs of older people through training of the nursing workforce.
- Applications to join the Older Person’s Nurse Fellow Programme must be received by 5pm, 19 September. More information is available from the King’s College London website.