The Nursing and Midwifery Council has unveiled a list of over 90 procedures and communication skills that nursing associates should be trained in, as part of draft proposals published yesterday.
The regulator stressed it was still developing the list and that a final draft version would be published for consultation in April. However, the NMC said it wanted to release the initial list earlier than then in order “to allow people to see how the skills annexe is developing and what it contains”.
“This working draft of the skills annexe is being released to allow people to see how the skills annexe is developing”
NMC draft skills annexe
Around 2,000 people are half-way through two-year training programmes to become nursing associates and will need to meet the NMC’s standards to get onto its register before they can practise.
The controversial new role is intended to act as a bridge between healthcare assistants and registered staff, with the government also proposing it as a potential new route into nursing for some associates at a time when the country is facing a major shortage of nurses.
The NMC’s plans contain more than 30 communication skills and over 60 procedures, including those for respiratory support, managing medicines and end-of-life care.
Nursing associates must be able to “manage the administration of oxygen using a range of routes and approaches”, use appropriate nasal and oral suctioning techniques, and manage inhalation, humidifier and nebuliser devices in line with prescription, according to the plans.
They should be able to carry out drug calculations “for a range of medications”, administer drugs via oral, topical and inhalation routes, and administer injections using subcutaneous and intradermal routes, state the proposals.
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In addition, nursing associates should “exercise professional accountability” when administering medicines to patients, add the plans.
Specific skills for monitoring a patient’s condition – such as recording and interpreting vital signs and undertaking venepuncture, cannulation, blood sampling, and routine electrocardiogram recording – are laid out in the draft skills annexe.
Associates should also be able to observe and reassess patients’ skin and hygiene status and “determine the need for ongoing intervention” and provide wound care using aseptic techniques.
Any number of ECGs, blood tests and scans, but not a sniff of any results
Other skills for bladder and bowel care are also detailed, such as managing catheters, assistance with self-catheterisation, and providing stoma care.
Infection prevention and management, end of life care, supporting the management of common symptoms – such as pain, nausea and anxiety – managing falls, supporting nutrition and hydration and sleep, are all covered in the list.
Meanwhile, communication skills to prevent ill health, for therapeutic intervention – such as de-escalation strategies – and techniques in supervision and coaching, such as for delegating care to others, are also set out.
The NMC noted that some people had proposed that nursing associates should also be trained in insertion and removal of oral and nasal gastric tubes, insertion and removal of catheters, intramuscular administration of drugs, and use of infusion pumps.
The regulator said it was considering adding these skills to the draft proposals when it launched the consultation in April.
The list of skills will form part of the NMC’s overall competency standards for nursing associates.
It published an early version of the draft competency standards in October 2017 to allow universities that have already started training associates to adjust their courses.
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Around 2,000 trainee nursing associates began two-year programmes in January 2017.
The NMC agreed to the government’s request to regulate associates later that month but it will not officially become the regulator of the role until changes are made to legislation, expected by autumn 2018.
It expects to open its register when the first set of nursing associates complete training programmes in January 2019.