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Community nurses too ‘fatigued’ to respond to NMC consultation, QNI says

Nursing group doubts meaningful engagement with education revamp is possible amid pandemic
Tired nurse

Nursing group doubts meaningful engagement with education revamp is possible amid COVID-19 pandemic

Community nurses are too exhausted by the COVID-19 pandemic to engage meaningfully in a consultation about post-registration education standards, the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has claimed.

It raised the concern in response to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) plans to forge ahead with the consultation, which will run from 8 April for 16 weeks rather than the usual 12 weeks, in recognition of the current pressures facing nurses.

Crystal Oldman

Community nurses under intense pressure, says QNI

QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman said it was disappointed with the regulator’s decision, even when taking into account the extra time given to respond to the consultation.

Nursing group doubts meaningful engagement with education revamp is possible amid COVID-19 pandemic

Picture: iStock

Community nurses are too exhausted by the COVID-19 pandemic to engage meaningfully in a consultation about post-registration education standards, the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has claimed.

It raised the concern in response to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) plans to forge ahead with the consultation, which will run from 8 April for 16 weeks rather than the usual 12 weeks, in recognition of the current pressures facing nurses.

Crystal Oldman

Community nurses under intense pressure, says QNI

QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman said it was disappointed with the regulator’s decision, even when taking into account the extra time given to respond to the consultation.

‘There are more people with COVID-19 being provided with nursing care in the community and primary care right now than in the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, and the mass vaccination programme will be in operation throughout the period of the consultation,’ she added.

‘Ten organisations and groups requested a delay, on the basis that the nursing workforce is fatigued and meaningful engagement is unlikely to be achieved at this time.’

Consultation is on proposed changes to qualifications

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe acknowledged concerns about the consultation’s timing in a council meeting on 24 March, but said the impact of COVID-19 had eased and any delay would be unhelpful.

The consultation centres on changes that would overhaul nine specialist practice qualifications (SPQs) by 2023.

Under the plans, five SPQs – for community children’s nursing, community learning disability nursing, community mental health nursing, general practice nursing and district nursing – would be replaced by a single common standard. The other four SPQs – in adult nursing, children’s nursing, learning disability nursing and mental health nursing – would be removed entirely.

A letter signed by ten nursing organisations, including the RCN, the QNI and the Community Nursing Executive Network, was sent to the NMC on 12 March. It highlighted worries that there are no bespoke standards included for each field of community nursing.

The letter said the review, commissioned by the NMC and conducted by research firm Pye Tait, identified 27 bespoke standards to be included across the fields of practice.

NMC ‘saddened’ that credibility of its standards development has been queried

Geraldine Walters

At its council meeting, NMC executive director of professional practice Geraldine Walters said: ‘We are saddened that you have challenged the credibility of our standards development process when we have taken significant steps to continually inform and update both the post-registration steering group and other stakeholders on the emerging evidence and themes throughout the pre-consultation engagement phase.’

Professor Walters said some findings from the Pye Tait report had been used to shape the draft standards for consultation.

‘We want to ensure we get it right,’ says RCN

RCN associate director of nursing Yinglen Butt said the college recognised that a review of the post-registration standards was long overdue and was pleased that the NMC had extended the length of its consultation to allow nursing staff to make a meaningful contribution.

She said: ‘We hope that our member feedback will provide an opportunity to reflect our continued commitment to support the NMC as they update the standards. The complexity of care delivery for those holding a specialist practice qualification is undeniable and we want to ensure we get it right.

‘We will be engaging with our members to ensure that their voices are heard in our response to the consultation process.’


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