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Are nursing associates simply assistant practitioners by another name?

  • 3 Comments

What will the nursing associate role consist of, and will it solve the nursing shortage? 

Since Health Education England published the results of its consultation on the development of a new nursing role, and confirmed that it is to go ahead with the proposed role, debate has raging across the profession and beyond.

The intention is to create a role that sits between healthcare assistant and registered nurses, and frees up nurses to focus on more complex aspects of nursing care.

This in turn should also help to address the growing shortage of nurses, and offer career development for healthcare assistants who want to progress but do not want to go as far as becoming registered nurses.

Critics say the scheme is simply a cost-saving exercise, replacing ‘expensive’ nurses with cheaper staff, and harks back to the enrolled nurse role that was abolished two decades ago. Influential healthcare charity The Health Foundation suggests new roles like the nursing associate will not be a quick fix for the NHS.

But there is another aspect to this debate, which seems to have been largely lost.

We already have an ‘in-between’ role – the assistant practitioner. So where does this role fit – and can it teach us anything about how the nursing associate role should develop?

Our archive selection this week includes an article on the assistant practitioner role that should interest anyone with opinions on the nursing associate role or involvement in its development.

Also in the spotlight this week is an article on using reflection on reading for validation. This is just one of the many activities nurses can use in revalidation evidence, and demonstrates that revalidation really is nothing to fear. Activities that nurses do automatically – reading, discussing professional issues with colleagues, researching an aspect of care – can all be used as revalidation activities. The only difference is you need to write brief notes about what you did and its effect on your practice. Just like in clinical care, if you don’t record your revalidation activities, they didn’t happen.

And finally, to satisfy your taste for clinical material, our article on acute kidney injury focuses on prevention and early detection of this potentially serious problem.

 

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  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • Urgh, such bullshit. Less smokescreens and naval gazing re: names, more action on the issues which are behind such nonsense like this please. Namely, our terminally unwell health service.

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  • michael stone

    You write:

    'But there is another aspect to this debate, which seems to have been largely lost.

    We already have an ‘in-between’ role – the assistant practitioner. So where does this role fit – and can it teach us anything about how the nursing associate role should develop?'

    It might have been 'largely lost' but one or more assistant practitioners (and I think also people who are not APs) have already asked that question on NT, more than once.

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  • I think this is a great role and will compliment a ward team well. I am expecting the snobs of the nursing world to throw their toys out of the pram! From what I have read these nurses will be registered and accountable so for me that's a good thing.

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