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Pathway for foster care nurses

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For the first time in the UK a clear framework has been developed for nurses working with children in care, which it is hoped could help reduce high caseloads.

The capability framework for looked after children (LAC) nurses in Scotland was published last week.

Ethics, knowledge, leadership and care delivery are all covered by the document, which has been developed in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland and the Scottish Government.

The partnership hopes it will give nurses and service providers greater clarity on appropriate skills and create a consistent level of care and practice throughout Scotland.

It is also hoped that a greater understanding of the role could mean more LAC nurse posts are commissioned. There are 31 LAC nurses in Scotland for 14,060 children, giving each nurse a caseload of around 450.

Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer Paul Martin said: ‘There are challenges around the nursing role in relation to children who are looked after.

I believe the framework gives us a strong impetus to address these challenges and develop a clear picture of what quality, evidence-based nursing can deliver.’

‘We really welcome the framework and the attention that has been given to this, because it is the first time this group of nurses has been recognised,’ added Clare Mayo, RCN Scotland policy adviser. ‘We hope they will be a growing group because of the creation of the framework.’

Liz Allan, acting chairperson of the RCN LAC special interest group for the UK, said she hoped a similar framework would be introduced in England where a DH revision of guidance for LACs is under way.

‘There must be clarification of the role in England which must be supported by a competencies framework,’ she told NT. ‘We would want the role to become statutory for PCTs,’ she added.

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