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Post-registration education: NMC in plan to shake-up specialist community public health standards

Proposal would update framework to reflect modern nursing roles

Proposal would update framework to reflect modern nursing roles


Health visitors would be required to meet new proficiency standards, under the proposals  Picture: iStock

Modernisation of post-registration education standards could herald big changes for specialist community nurses.

The shake-up is an attempt by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to ensure education standards meet the needs of today's roles.

Proficiency standards for a specialist practitioner qualification

The NMC's post-registration steering group, which has representation from the UK's four chief nursing officers, the Queen's Nursing Institute and the RCN, recommends:

  • New standards of proficiency be introduced for health visitors, occupational health and school nurses by 2023.
  • Initial work be done on scoping proficiency standards for a proposed specialist practitioner qualification (SPQ) in community nursing.

The current standards for specialist community public health nursing have not been updated for more than 15 years.

‘Current standards… no longer reflect what people using services in their home or local community need’

Geraldine Walters, director of education and standards, NMC

Specialist community public health status is only available to those already registered as a nurse or a midwife and includes five fields of nursing practice: occupational health, health visiting, school, family, and public health.

Under the proposals, family and public health would cease to form part of the specialist community public health register due to what the NMC identified as a 'lack of demand' and a review of registrant numbers and education programme activity. 

Services should reflect communities’ needs as they are now

NMC director of education and standards Geraldine Walters said: 'Our current standards for specialist community public health nursing and the specialist practitioner qualification no longer reflect what people using services in their home or local community need.

'We want to make sure any new standards reflect the work many nurses in local communities are already doing, including complex clinical work, leading and managing teams and shaping local services.'

Approval of the recommendations will be sought from the NMC Council at its meeting on 29 January.


Further information

Read the proposed review of post-registration standards here


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