Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that proposals will be developed to make it easier for nurses to move into advanced practice roles.
Improving opportunities for career progression was important for staff morale and recruitment and retention, he said at a conference today.
“We will not get the most out of our workforce unless we are better at harnessing ambition”
Mr Hunt said he wanted to ensure there was a “clear progression path for nurses to reach advanced level practice and beyond”.
This, he said, would allow the them to “develop their scope of practice in new and creative ways to meet increasingly complex patient needs”.
As a result, the health secretary said he had asked the Department of Health to work with Health Education England, NHS Improvement and the royal colleges to develop proposals.
He added that he had also asked HEE, the Royal College of Nursing and the General Medical Council to review whether a “smooth career path” could be created for the “small number” of advanced nurse practitioners who wish to become doctors.
“They are experienced nurses and the skills and experience they have should be properly taken into account if they wish to change their career and become doctors,” he told delegates today at the NHS Providers conference.
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“The opportunity for career progression is not just important for morale, but also boosts recruitment and retention too,” said Mr Hunt.
He added: “We must approach this with an open mind, conscious of the need to maintain standards but also aware that we will not get the most out of our workforce unless we are better at harnessing the ambition and motivation that everyone has inside them.”
Mr Hunt made the announcement this morning as part of a keynote speech, where he also provided further details about degree-level nurse apprenticeships.
In addition, he confirmed that degree-level nurse apprenticeships are expected to begin from September, with up to 1,000 aspiring nurses training via this route in the NHS every year once programmes have been fully established.