A national consultation on plans to create a new “nursing associate” role has shown “strong support” for its regulation, it has been revealed.
The director of nursing at Health Education England, the national workforce planning body leading the consultation, also said respondents wanted those in the role to be able to administer medication, undertake dressings and care for people with catheters.
“They are going to have to be trained robustly and that then leads you to regulation”
At an HEE lecture last week on shaping the future nursing and care workforce, Lisa Bayliss-Pratt revealed to an audience of leading nurses and academics some of the knowledge and skills respondents had said the role should have.
Referring to the consultation results, Ms Bayliss-Pratt said: “They told us this, in headlines, that the role should be regulated, that it should be able to administer medication, that it should undertake dressings, it should be able to deliver a care plan, it must be focussed on prevention and promotion and people’s health and wellbeing, that it’s got to be able to care for patients that are ventilated, that have got catheters.”
She said the consultation had been “far-reaching” and reiterated an earlier comment made to Nursing Times that it had attracted more than 1,000 responses.
However, she said she was unable to provide any more details until the full findings from the consultation were presented to HEE’s board, which is expected to happen at its meeting next week.
She asked the audience to consider what the introduction of the role – which has been designed to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and nurses – could mean for the registered nurse workforce.
Ms Bayliss-Pratt suggested it could help improve retention of nurses and asked whether the “advanced practice of today [could become] the standard practice of tomorrow?”.
When later asked by Nursing Times how many consultation respondents wanted the role to be regulated, HEE said there was “strong support” for this.
Ms Bayliss-Pratt also later told Nursing Times that this was the case due to being in a “post-Francis era”, in reference to the public inquiry into the former Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
In addition, she said, for the role to be effective there was a “question mark about direct and indirect supervision”.
“If they are to work in social care and primary care, then actually they are going to have to do more than our support workers of today do. And they are going to have to work, quite probably, independently,” she said.
“They are going to have to be trained robustly and that then leads you to regulation,” she added.
“The other benefit [of regulation], of course, is to be able to create national standards. To be able to create a workforce that feels valued and has got some clear delineations around what’s its name, what its education is, where it sits within the nursing family,” said Ms Bayliss-Pratt.