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Most nurses approve controversial update of standards, regulator says

Consultation shows majority see proposed changes to post-registration standards as fit for purpose and they will now go to the NMC for approval
Picture of the Nursing and Midwifery Council headquarters in Portland Place, London

Consultation shows majority see proposed changes to post-registration standards as fit for purpose and they will now go to the NMC for approval

A majority of nurses and other stakeholders agree with a controversial overhaul of post-registration standards proposed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), results of a consultation show.

A large majority of the 2,363 respondents to the consultation agreed that the three sets of standards proposed were ‘fit for purpose’, the regulator said.

The standards cover proficiency for specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN), proficiency for community

Consultation shows majority see proposed changes to post-registration standards as fit for purpose and they will now go to the NMC for approval

Picture of the Nursing and Midwifery Council headquarters in Portland Place, London
The Nursing and Midwifery Council headquarters in Portland Place, London
Picture: Barney Newman

A majority of nurses and other stakeholders agree with a controversial overhaul of post-registration standards proposed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), results of a consultation show.

A large majority of the 2,363 respondents to the consultation agreed that the three sets of standards proposed were ‘fit for purpose’, the regulator said.

The standards cover proficiency for specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN), proficiency for community nursing specialist practice qualifications (SPQ) and post-registration education programmes. More than 72% of respondents said they supported proposed standards across the five fields of SPQs.

Support for the other proposed standards

  • Some 75% of respondents agreed the draft core and field-specific standards of proficiency reflect the specialist knowledge, skills and attributes necessary for all SCPHN registrants
  • At least 67% agreed with most of the proposed post-registration programme standards for both SCPHN and SPQ

The overhaul of the standards is the first in more than a decade. The NMC said the aim was to ‘update, modernise and streamline’ the standards to ‘reflect the current vision for public health and community nursing services’.

Under plans announced in November 2020, five of nine SPQs – for community children’s nursing, community learning disability nursing, community mental health nursing, general practice nursing and district nursing – were set to be replaced by a single, common standard.

Regulator will now refine the standards before a public council meeting to approve them

But the proposals met with criticism from the RCN and the Queen’s Nursing Institute over concerns that the changes did not adequately cover other existing fields of practice.

After consultation with nurses and other stakeholders, the NMC added a sixth standard to ‘accommodate other existing community nursing roles for which there is no SPQ’ as well as any new community roles which may emerge in future, according to a report on the consultation.

Executive director of professional practice at the NMC Geraldine Walters said the regulator would use the results of the consultation to ‘refine’ the standards before taking them to a public council meeting for approval.

Professor Walters said: ‘We’re pleased that the responses are generally positive, with most people supporting the ambition and intention of these future standards.’


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