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Full steam ahead in 2010

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The work to modernise nursing careers hasn’t suffered from the January blues. In fact it’s gathering momentum on many different fronts.

As the key public health workforce within the NHS, health visitors have a considerable role to play in preventative services for children and families. This means they can make a vital contribution to the quality, innovation, productivity and prevention (QIPP) agenda.

The Action on Health Visiting Programme was set up to help them do this by clarifying health visitors’ roles and responsibilities in the rapidly changing landscape of children’s services, and to address their falling numbers in the workforce

During phase one of the programme - a joint initiative with the Community Practitioners and Health Visitor’s Association arm of Unite the Union - the expert contribution of health visitors was agreed, including leading and delivering the Healthy Child Programme and their expert skills in working with vulnerable families.

As part of phase two, three SHAs, in areas having the greatest difficulty recruiting, health visitors will test ways of improving recruitment, retention and return to practice.

‘We have also commissioned experts to identify motivators and barriers to entering health visiting,’ says Maureen Morgan, Professional Officer - Policy and Practice.

‘We are especially keen to incorporate new learning, particularly from neuroscience, into health visiting practice and we have events planned that will help with this.

“We intend to use the results to populate the planned electronic version of the Modernising Nursing Careers (MNC) career framework, to help potential recruits make career choices, and as a tool for workforce planners.’

The programme team is holding a conference on 14 April to share all of the work so far. Invitations will be sent via SHAs.


Consultation on standards for pre-registration

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has launched a consultation on the new pre-registration standards for nursing.

The aim is that they will help make sure future nurses are well prepared to meet the needs of patients and service users, and to lead in a changing healthcare system, as we move towards 2020 and beyond.

This is the first full review of nurse preparation since the Project 2000 initiative in the mid-1990s, so all nurses are urged to have their say.

The DH has been working closely with the NMC - alongside nurses, key stakeholders, patients and the public from across the UK - to develop the standards.

The standards are divided in to two elements:

  • Standards for - competence set up the core competencies and the field-specific competencies for each of the four nursing fields (not ‘branches’) - adult, child, mental health and learning disabilities)
  • Standards for education - set out requirements for teaching, learning and assessment, including the requirement for degree-level education for all student nurses.

They will be reviewed in light of the consultation feedback and the final standards will be published in September. An England Implementation Group is being established to coordinate and oversee the successful implementation of the revised standards, which will come into effect from September 2011.


More MNC progress

  • The Secretary of State Andy Burnham has formally endorsed degree-level outcomes and committed to introducing preceptorship.
  • Flying Start, England is being tested in over 30 organisations and will soon be extended to include midwives and specialist community public health nurses.
  • An individually held skills passport is being developed and the career pathway approach is being turned into an interactive electronic version.
  • The MNC programme is working with the National Leadership Council to support clinical nursing leadership. This includes developing a multi-disciplinary competency framework with an integrated, national accreditation and certification system.


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