The Nursing and Midwifery Council has rowed back on its proposal to not set any competency standards for nurses and midwives who will assess students on practice placements.
Following a consultation on its major overhaul of nursing and midwifery education, the NMC is now proposing it will require registrants who assess trainees to have carried out a minimum level of preparation.
“There will be no NMC-approved programme for assessors or supervisors”
NMC council papers
According to NMC council papers due to be discussed next week, a “series of high-level standard outcomes for assessor preparation are now set out within the standards for supervision and assessment”.
However, in line with the NMC’s original proposal, assessors will not need to have completed a training programme approved by the regulator, which is currently the case for mentors.
As previously reported by Nursing Times, nursing academics and the Royal College of Nursing have raised concerns about the removal of standards for new assessor roles, claiming the move could affect the quality of assessment.
- Concerns over NMC plans to change student assessment and mentor training
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As part of its revamp of education, the NMC is proposing to change the way mentoring works by splitting the role into supervisors and assessors.
The regulator had originally proposed practice supervisors should be any registered health or social care professional. Following the consultation, it has confirmed it wants this to remain the case but has clarified they must be supporting learning in line with their competence.
As per its original proposal, it wants to see students signed off by practice assessors and academic assessors, who must be registered with the NMC.
Following the consultation, the regulator has clarified that assessors must be on the same part of the register as the student – as either nurses, midwives or specialist community public health nurses. But they will not be required to be from the same field of nursing as the student.
The NMC council papers state: “Most respondents disagreed with the proposal that we will no longer require those supporting, supervising and assessing students to complete a programme that is NMC-approved.”
“Practice supervisors will be expected to be prepared for their role, but specific training will not be mandated”
NMC council papers
It said it had made a number of changes to its plans following feedback from the consultation. As a result, the regulator said: “There will be no NMC approved programme for assessors or supervisors.
“However, assessors will be required to undergo preparation or training. Practice supervisors will be expected to be prepared for their role, but it will not be mandated that they undergo specific training,” it said.
The NMC’s revised framework for nursing and midwifery education, contained within the council papers, now includes a set of standards for the roles.
Practice and academic assessors must prepare or train for their roles to ensure they have developed interpersonal communication skills and are able to carry out evidence based assessments of students, state the papers.
They must be able to demonstrate they can provide constructive feedback to facilitate professional development, and have “knowledge of the assessment process and their role within it,” the papers add.
The NMC council will meet next week on 28 March to decide whether to sign off the new student assessment standards.
At the same meeting, the council will also decide whether to approve revised proficiencies for nurses, new prescribing standards, and the planned removal of medicines management standards, which have also all recently been consulted on.
It will also decide whether to launch a consultation on nursing associate education proposals, which have been released in the same council papers this week.