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Nurse academic calls for mandatory preceptorship year for all new nurses

All new nurses should complete a mandatory preceptorship year to help them meet new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requirements, an academic leading the regulator's 'radical' overhaul of education standards has said.

All new nurses should complete a mandatory preceptorship year to help them meet new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requirements, an academic leading the regulator's 'radical' overhaul of education standards has said.

Dame Jill Macleod Clark is leading work on developing the NMC's new standards for pre-registration nurse education, with a consultation expected later this year.

A draft version seen by Nursing Standard in February stated that all new nurses will be able to prescribe from an 'agreed formulary', and that they should also complete a lengthy list of intravenous procedures, including venepuncture, cannulation and various intravenous therapies.

Value of potential

Speaking to the Nursing Standard after giving a keynote speech at the RCN Education Forum conference in Cardiff,

All new nurses should complete a mandatory preceptorship year to help them meet new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requirements, an academic leading the regulator's 'radical' overhaul of education standards has said.


Professor Jill Macleod Clark has said now is the right time to look at the value of preceptorship years
Picture: John Behets

Dame Jill Macleod Clark is leading work on developing the NMC's new standards for pre-registration nurse education, with a consultation expected later this year.

A draft version seen by Nursing Standard in February stated that all new nurses will be able to prescribe from an 'agreed formulary', and that they should also complete a lengthy list of intravenous procedures, including venepuncture, cannulation and various intravenous therapies.

Value of potential

Speaking to the Nursing Standard after giving a keynote speech at the RCN Education Forum conference in Cardiff, Professor Macleod Clark said: ‘It might be time to take a hard look at the potential value of a mandatory preceptorship or internship year.’

Many hospitals already offer preceptorship to new starters to give them the confidence and skills needed for that particular workplace.

Professor Macleod Clark said that under a mandatory programme, nursing students could be given provisional NMC registration upon graduation, with full registration on completion of the additional year of supervision.

'Strong recommendations'

The NMC has previously said that it 'strongly recommends' a period of preceptorship within the first year after graduation. Professor Macleod Clark told Nursing Standard the NMC has agreed to review preceptorship separate to the new education standards.

She added the as-yet unpublished education standards would also address mentorship of pre-registration students.

There are concerns that quality of mentorship and assessment can vary, and research has shown that some mentors were passing students who they believed should have failed.

Professor Macleod Clark said a standardised practice assessment for nursing students would ‘make a huge amount of sense’.

Different approach needed

Earlier, in her speech to around 400 educators and students at the conference, she was critical of the mentorship system: 'It is not the same as giving expert supervision and rigorous assessment, so I am going to tie myself to the railings at NMC headquarters if the word "mentoring" appears in the new standards.'

Professor Macleod Clark added: 'I do not believe we can implement these new standards unless there is a different approach to practice supervision and assessment, and unless there is a different, more intelligent approach to interpretation of practise hours. I just don't think it can be done.'

She told the conference that the new education standards 'will be very clear what a nurse can do at the point of graduation', including demonstrating good knowledge of public health and how to advise people of lifestyle choices, as well as have confident leadership skills to safely organise and delegate care.

She added the standards would provide the foundation for continuing professional development and move the registered nurse to the 'clinical nurse leader of the future'.


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