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NMC to seek nurses' views on future practice standards

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council will launch a major consultation later this week on the knowledge and skills nurses of the future will need to practice.

The consultation on the future of pre-registration education will focus on the move to a graduate-only entry profession in England, which was rubber-stamped by the government in November.

The regulator wants nurse views on developing new standards for pre-registration education programmes, which will set out what nursing students must demonstrate in order to be fit to practice at the point of registration.

The regulator said: “In the consultation we’ll look at the knowledge, skills and attitudes all graduate nurses need to demonstrate by the point of registration.

“For the first time this will include both generic and field specific competencies for each of the four nursing fields of practice: adult, child, learning disability and mental health. 

“In addition there will be new requirements for teaching, learning and assessment to address the challenges of meeting new and more flexible ways of working and the ways in which the needs of patients will be met as services are reconfigured and new roles emerge.”

The consultation will run from 29 January till April, with nurses encouraged to air their views via the NMC website.

Five question and answer events will also take place during February and March at locations across the UK.

The new standards are due to be published in the autumn, but training programmes will not be expected to begin meeting them until September 2011.

Nursing diploma courses are due to be phased out by September 2013.

Wales moved to graduate-only entry in 2004, while Scotland and Northern Ireland are in the process of doing so. Midwifery is already a graduate-entry only profession.  

The Department of Health’s decision to bring nursing in England in line follows the NMC’s ratification of proposals to do in September 2008.

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