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New nurse education standards 'could start in 2018 at some universities'

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Student nurses could train on updated university courses under new standards from as early as September 2018, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s lead advisor for reforming nurse education.

Earlier this year, a review of the NMC’s current pre-registration standards, which date back to 2010, concluded that they were no longer fit for purpose for the future role of nursing and needed revising.

“There will be an option for early adopters to implement the new standards from September 2018”

Jill Macleod Clark

The review – led by Professor Dame Jill Macleod Clark, who is now the NMC’s lead advisor for developing the new nursing standards – found they needed to be made clearer and ensure students were trained with higher level skills and competencies.

The NMC has previously said that universities would be expected to comply with the new standards from September 2019.

But in a blog post last week, Dame Jill revealed some universities would have the option to run pre-registration courses under the new standards from September 2018.

In an update on her work so far, she also highlighted the new standards would have to support registered nurses to work “flexibly and accountably across care settings, with a continuing shift in focus on care delivered in non-hospital environments”.

“The demand for evidence-based, compassionate nursing care will escalate, and the ability to delegate care to unregistered members of teams safely and effectively will be crucial,” she said.

“A confident knowledge base, encompassing both behavioural and biosciences, to undertake assessments of mental and physical health status [will be required]”

Jill Macleod Clark

She also stressed that, in the future, nurses must be trained to support people “from birth through to the end of life” and that “they must also be able to meet the needs of those facing commonly encountered mental and physical health challenges and/or intellectual disability”.

She highlighted that “a confident knowledge base, encompassing both behavioural and biosciences, in order to undertake assessments of mental and physical health status, interpret data and make evidence-based decisions about nursing care requirements,” was needed.

Dame Jill also described a recent report by the Council of Deans of Health – which made a series of suggestions for developing the new standards including for them to potentially feature prescribing – as “excellent and provocative”.

Jill_Macleod_Clark.jpg

Jill Macleod Clark

She reiterated that the new standards would continue to be drafted throughout 2016, with formal consultation by the NMC between April and June 2017.

“The final set of standards is due to be published by early 2018. There will be an option for early adopters to implement the new standards from September 2018, and the NMC anticipates that all institutions will adopt the new standards by September 2019,” said Dame Jill.

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Readers' comments (5)

  • First we need a decent, honest, accountable NMC wit integrity to take the lead

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  • I totally agree with above comment

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  • As an "old" nurse who trained in general, paediatric and orthopaedics I still think that it will be vital to have dedicated training programmes in speciality areas. Certainly I needed very different skills in all three of the above. Mental health and learning disability too, are also highly skilled areas, needing much practical experience to balance theory.
    Be very wary of throwing the baby out with the bath water. I remember the days of specialist Social Workers, in paediatrics the Children's S/W was a vast resource and equally the Mental Health S/W was a fount of knowledge. Then we moved on to generic S/W's and knowledge of a little bit of most areas does not give the same quality or knowledge.
    In nursing the high flying academics then decided to get rid of the most valuable practical resource, that of the Enrolled nurse. This has resulted in a huge gap for those people who want to work at the bedside with a recognised qualification together with an equal loss for ward leaders trying to balance staffing needs. Before I get howled down I worked in education for many years!!

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  • I think there are various clinical skills that need to be taught. For example phlebotomy and cannulation as these are skills that rely heavily on others to do. Sometimes there are long delays in getting these procedures carried out as the wards are over run. Allowing student nurses to learn such a critical skill can in the future alleviate these delays. The U.K. as it stands are one of few if not the only country that does not include this in their pre registration programme, time for a revamp.

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  • I think the definition of registered nurse needs to be clearly articulated. This may give potential students the information to make the decision about what they want from a career in nursing - at the moment it appears the profession is heading away from my understanding of nursing toward doctoring??? The level of expectation at the point of qualifying is extremely demanding for a three year course/the level of responsibility does not appear to be rewarded both financially as with other graduates. The public also need to be made aware. The changes are great and the consultation needs to be widespread and not based on government policy - reducing number of junior doctors/cut backs. Potential students who want to be knowledgeable doers/ caring for their patients with some hands on contact may be wiser to consider the associate nurse role. It still appears the regulation of these associates and their status as professionals has not been decided or am I missing something?

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