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NMC reveals nursing associate draft proficiency standards

Six ‘platforms’ trainees are expected to reach on registration include accountability, health promotion, improving care and health promotion

Fully fledged nursing associates can expect to promote health, monitor patient needs and make improvements to safety and quality of care, draft papers reveal.

The proposed standards of proficiency for the new role, released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), will apply to around 2,000 trainees who are currently studying at 35 pilot sites in England.

Six standards

There are six standards, known as platforms, that nursing associates will be expected to meet on registration:

  • Accountable for practice – use their knowledge and experience to make evidence-based decisions and solve problems.
  • Promoting health – able to explain preventative health behaviours and the importance of screening.
  • Provide and monitor care – able to understand when a person’s condition has unexpectedly changed and there is a need to adapt the care plan.
  • Working in teams – able to understand and explain the responsibilities of different teams and their role within a team.
  • Improve safety and quality of care – assess risks and improve care, and understand incidents such as a ‘near miss’.
  • Contributing to integrated care – able to work collaboratively with different members of multidisplinary teams.

Distinct roles

Each platform explains how the standards aim to build on the skills that healthcare assistants (HCAs) already have. The NMC has also noted the need to provide a clear distinction between the HCA and registered nurse roles.

The standards stress the importance of the duty of candour, continuing to develop knowledge and skills, and understanding the requirements of patients in the four fields of nursing – adult, child, learning disability and mental health.

They have been under development since January, when the NMC agreed to a request from health secretary Jeremy Hunt to be the regulator for the nursing associate role.

The NMC took the ‘unusual’ step of publishing the draft version of the standards at its council meeting last month.

At the time, chair Dame Janet Finch said: ‘We are doing this to be helpful to the education sites, to show a direction of travel. There will inevitably be significant changes as we go through.’

A further draft of the principles is expected to be produced next spring, ahead of a full public consultation. If approved, the standards will be officially adopted in autumn 2018, a few months before the first cohort of nursing associates are due to graduate.


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