The first group of nurses chosen for a national programme to develop specialist expertise in the care of older people are now undergoing training.
The nurses are taking part in the King’s College London Older Person’s Nursing Fellowship, which is funded by national training and workforce planning body Health Education England.
The fellowship has been badged as the first initiative of its kind to develop and train highly-skilled nurses with specialist expertise in the care of older people.
“Doctors are wonderful but as you get older, it’s the nurses you need the most”
It is intended that the fellows will become national pioneers, sharing best practice with multidisciplinary teams and helping to inform commissioning of “age attuned” services.
The creation of the fellowship programme was announced in May 2014 in Health Education England’s annual mandate from the government, in response to the Francis report.
In August, the first band 7 and 8 nurses were invited to apply for 24 inaugural places on the expert training programme, which requires them to complete two modules.
A King’s College spokeswoman said 12 nurses had now completed the first module of the fellowship and were moving onto its second stage, while the other 12 were beginning the first module.
Sir Keith Pearson, chair of Health Education England, emphasised the importance of the fellowship, claiming it would drive up standards and transform the nursing care of older people across the UK.
“It brings together talented and expert practitioners who will become ambassadors of the programme and collaboration of best practice,” he said in a keynote speech to welcome the new students.
“They are highly committed to ensuring there is no distinction between the care that older people receive, compared to other patients,” he said. “I think this is something powerful.”
Baroness Sally Greengross, a long-term pioneer and advocate for the care of older people in the UK, added: “Doctors are wonderful but as you get older, it’s the nurses you need the most.
“The older person’s nurse fellowship has huge potential to transform the provision of care for older people by training and developing a cadre of specialist nurses who will lead the way in this area of nursing,” she said.