Researchers have developed a national career framework with the aim of ensuring that nursing staff have the skills and expertise they need to care for older people with complex needs.
Northumbria University, which has developed the framework with funding from Health Education, suggested it could “revolutionise the way nurses care for the elderly”.
Researchers used a survey of healthcare experts, case studies and focus groups to find out which skills were most required for nurses working predominantly with older people.
“We wanted to ensure that nurses are equipped with the skills they need to deal”
They then developed a framework that covers a wide range of areas, including values and behaviour, end of life care, clinical skills and safeguarding.
Their subsequent report – entitled The design and development of a National Career Framework for nurses caring for older people with complex needs in England – has been presented at a conference organised by the Royal College of Nursing’s Older People’s Forum and the British Geriatric Society.
The framework will now be piloted in two hospitals, according to the univerity.
Pauline Pearson, professor of nursing at Northumbria, said: “We are caring for more older people than ever before and the reality is that these patients often have multiple conditions which require different types of care.
“We wanted to ensure that nurses are equipped with the skills they need to deal with this, and to do so we needed to think about this problem systematically,” she said.
“By using the framework, we can find out which departments need which skills most and identify units who do not have access to the expertise they need,” she added.
Although the framework was originally developed for nurses already in practice, Professor Pearson said it could also help NHS commissioners looking to improve nursing education across the country.
“The framework could help to indicate which areas of training are being provided in the curriculum for pre-registration nurses and which areas could be improved,” she said.
- Summaries of the framework and an outline are attached to this page (see top-right)