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NMC confirms new post-registration education standards for specialist community nurses

Council also reveals changes to specialist practice qualifications
Health visitor with mother and child

Council also reveals changes to specialist practice qualifications

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Council has approved the production of new post-registration education standards for specialist community nurses.

The current standards which have not been updated for more than 15 years will be withdrawn by 2023 and new ones developed for health visitors, school nurses and occupational health nurses.

Specialist practice qualifications to be reworked

In a separate decision, nine specialist practice qualifications (SPQs) will be withdrawn by 2023.

Five of these SPQs community childrens nursing, community learning disability nursing, community mental health nursing, general practice nursing, and district nursing will

Council also reveals changes to specialist practice qualifications


Picture: iStock

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Council has approved the production of new post-registration education standards for specialist community nurses.

The current standards – which have not been updated for more than 15 years — will be withdrawn by 2023 and new ones developed for health visitors, school nurses and occupational health nurses. 

Specialist practice qualifications to be reworked

In a separate decision, nine specialist practice qualifications (SPQs) will be withdrawn by 2023.

Five of these SPQs – community children’s nursing, community learning disability nursing, community mental health nursing, general practice nursing, and district nursing — will be reworked into a single qualification.

The other four SPQs – adult, children’s, learning disability and mental health nursing — will be removed entirely.

The proposals were made by 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.

‘District nursing is in crisis’


Stephen Thornton

Commenting on the changes, NMC Council lay member Stephen Thornton said the new standards should recognise the difficulties that front-line community nurses experience.

‘We need to be having this discussion in the context of what is happening on the ground, and right now district nursing is in crisis,’ he said. 

Mr Thornton cited an experience he had when shadowing a district nurse in Cardiff on her calls.

‘She was faced with an individual patient with multiple comorbidities, then there were the familial relationships going on in the room as we spoke, then there was the dog and then there was a knock on the door from the neighbour,’ he recalled. 

‘Extraordinary’ focus of district nurse

‘I was watching this young woman handle all of that in a way that I was full of admiration for, and how she managed all of these complex relationships and conversations while focusing single-mindedly on the patient was quite extraordinary.’

In order to prevent staff burnout, Mr Thornton said training and education should be developed to support nurses to cope with their workload.


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