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NMC urges nurses to have their say on education overhaul

Practising nurses are being urged to use their experience to help shape the future of nursing education.
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Frontline nurses are being urged to use their experience to help shape a 'radical overhaul' of nursing education.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is conducting a consultation on major changes to pre-registration training.

The new standards will ensure nursing students in all fields will have a detailed understanding of mental as well as physical health when they graduate.

But the plans have sparked fears in some quarters about nursing courses becoming too generic.

Nervousness over content

In an interview with the Nursing Standard, NMC director of nursing and midwifery education, standards and policy Geraldine Walters said the response to the plans had so far been supportive with some nervousness about how the new content would fit in.

The NMC has heard from mainly educators and service providers via engagement events

Frontline nurses are being urged to use their experience to help shape a 'radical overhaul' of nursing education.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is conducting a consultation on major changes to pre-registration training.

geraldine
 This is the future of education, says Geraldine Walters.

The new standards will ensure nursing students in all fields will have a detailed understanding of mental as well as physical health when they graduate.

But the plans have sparked fears in some quarters about nursing courses becoming too generic.

Nervousness over content

In an interview with the Nursing Standard, NMC director of nursing and midwifery education, standards and policy Geraldine Walters said the response to the plans had so far been supportive with ‘some nervousness’ about how the new content would fit in.

The NMC has heard from mainly educators and service providers via engagement events it is running and is working closely with the RCN and the Council of Deans of Health, which represents university faculties engaged in educating nursing, midwifery and AHP students.

But Dr Walters said has urged front-line nurses to make their views heard.

Future of education

‘We need the message to go out that this is the future of education. We would like nurses in practice to think about it, discuss it and get on board, so they are really informed about the issues to give some really helpful feedback,’ she said.

Dr Walters said she understood concerns over a potentially more generic course.

But she said educators were confident of the ability of their curriculum to deliver within the four fields.

‘Mental health nurses need to know more about physical health and vice versa – and everyone needs to know more about learning disability patients when they are in acute settings,’ she said.

Across four fields

‘There’s pretty much agreement that all nurses in all fields need an understanding of all four fields.’

Under the plans, the four fields of adult, mental health, learning disability and children’s nursing would remain – they are currently legally protected.

Seven areas of outcome-based standards, such as communication, will then be applied across the four nursing disciplines but will vary in depth according to the relevance to the area of practice.

In addition to the consultation on the education framework, there is a separate one on plans to allow nurses and midwives to prescribe earlier in their careers.

Prescribing knowledge

Dr Walters stressed that students will not graduate as prescribers. Instead they would have ‘theoretical knowledge’ and could then take a post-registration practice assessment to prescribe.

She said some saw this as unnecessary because much of what nurses would prescribe was already available in pharmacies, but said ‘nurses still need the prescribing knowledge in order to advise patients to purchase it over the counter'.

The NMC is running webinars and Twitter chats for nurses on the plans in addition to encouraging them to respond to the three education consultations.

The consultation on the education framework closes on 12 September, and that on prescribing and standards for medicines management ends two days later on 14 September.


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