More than 70 technical skills that newly qualified nurses should be competent in, including nasogastric tube insertion, injection of intravenous drugs, and urinary catheterisation, have been laid out in draft education plans being developed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The list of skills in the new set of pre-registration education standards also includes blood component transfusion, interpretation of blood analysis, venepuncture, management of electrocardiograms, and recognition and management of sepsis.
“We have worked closely with stakeholders to develop draft pre-registration nursing standards and we are currently engaging with professionals and the public”
Meanwhile, a range of more than 20 communication skills covering different patients, such as those who are depressed or have dementia, plus how to interact with other team members, and deal with uncertain or changing situations, have also been set out.
It marks a change from the NMC’s current education standards – last revised in 2010 – which do not provide such a detailed list of capabilities that nurses must have.
The change comes after the regulator found there was a perception among the profession that nurses were qualifying with varying skills.
However, it is not yet clear whether registrants across all four fields of nursing will be expected to be trained in each of these areas, and whether more will be added for each specialty.
As previously revealed by Nursing Times, the draft document also states that all newly-qualified nurses must be trained to supervise students, and it suggests they will be able to prescribe from an “agreed formulary”.
In addition, they must understand how to influence policy, show developing political awareness and, must be able to delegate appropriately to others providing care.
The draft plans, seen by Nursing Times, have not yet been published and may still change before they are put out to public consultation, said the NMC.
The group of 95 skills are included within two annexes entitled “communication skills” and “nursing skills for patient-centred care”.
The annexes have been drawn up to “provide clarity” about what a new registrant should be able to do in order to meet the 78 outcomes in the main body of the document – covering accountability, public health, care planning, evaluation, leading teams, improving safety, and coordinating care.
“The outcome statements included in the standards have been designed to apply across all current fields of nursing practice and all care settings…The technical annexes to the standards will give some indication of potential field-specific content,” states the document.
“These standards are at draft stage and some sections are not yet fully complete. Further changes will be made”
The NMC was unable to confirm whether nurses across all four fields of nursing – adult, children’s mental health, and learning disability – will have to be competent in all 95 skills listed.
When asked by Nursing Times, the NMC also did not confirm whether it intended to add further annexes that looked at the specific skills required by each field of practice.
However, an NMC spokesman stressed that the plans were still in draft form and that “further changes and additions will be made” with “specific input from field-specific stakeholders, ahead of a full public consultation in the spring”.
There has been growing concern that the NMC’s education proposals will see a move to more generic training before specialising, which some parts of the profession have warned could see adult nursing prioritised.
Following speculation that the fields of nursing registration might be removed, the NMC recently confirmed that it was required by legislation to ensure all four existed and that it was not looking at this as part of its current review of the standards.
But it did not rule out the possibility of this happening in the future when legislation is altered to allow nursing associates onto the register.
In response to the draft education plans, an NMC spokesman said: “The health and care landscape is changing at an unprecedented rate and nurses and midwives are being asked to undertake more complex roles across a range of health and care settings.
“We are currently undertaking a radical review of our pre-registration nursing and midwifery standards, thinking about what the public need from nurses and midwives now and in the future,” he said.
“We have worked closely with stakeholders to develop draft pre-registration nursing standards and we are currently engaging with professionals and the public across the four countries on these,” he added.
“These standards are at draft stage and some sections are not yet fully complete. Further changes and additions will be made, with specific input from field-specific stakeholders ahead of a full public consultation in the spring,” said the NMC spokesman.