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January 2019

New proficiency standards come into force

New standards of proficiency that all registered nurses must demonstrate come into effect at the end of this month.

The NMC standards include seven ‘platforms’ which all nurses need to understand because they:

  • Represent the knowledge, skills and attributes that all registered nurses must demonstrate when caring for people of all ages and across all care settings
  • Reflect what the public can expect nurses to know and be able to do
  • Provide a benchmark for nurses from the European Economic Area, EU and overseas who wish to join the register
  • Provide a benchmark for those who plan to return to practice after a period of absence.

The seven platforms cover:

  • Accountability
  • Promoting health and preventing ill health
  • Assessing needs and planning care
  • Providing and evaluating care
  • Leading and managing nursing care and working in teams
  • Improving safety and quality of care
  • Coordinating care

Future nurse: standards of proficiency for registered nurses says: ‘Registered nurses play a vital role in providing, leading and coordinating care that is compassionate, evidence-based and person-centred. They are accountable for their own actions and must be able to work autonomously, or as an equal partner with a range of other professionals, and in interdisciplinary teams.

‘They must be emotionally intelligent and resilient individuals, who are able to manage their own personal health and wellbeing, and know when and how to access support.’

The standards are accompanied by a new framework for nursing and midwifery education, which will apply to all education institutions that provide NMC-approved education programmes. These aim to provide institutions with flexibility to develop innovative approaches to education using various academic routes to registration, while maintaining specific programme standards. The standards include both academic teaching and practice placements. There are also new standards for the supervision of students, which open up the role to all NMC registered nurses, midwives and associates, as well as other registered health and social care professionals. Supervisors must receive appropriate support for their role, and they will contribute to student assessments, but will not assess the students they supervise.

Primary care adviser and Practice Nurse editor-in-chief Tina Bishop said: ‘Some practices have made great advances with providing student placements. However, due to the constraints of funding this is not as widespread as it could be.

‘Practice staff involved in teaching have had difficulty finding time to attend preparation sessions for their role because of their heavy clinical workloads. It will be important to develop systems to ensure that assessors and supervisors are prepared and supported adequately for their role.’