Review of nursing education standards will emphasise leadership and health promotion

Professor Dame Jill Macleod Clark has revealed some of the likely areas of focus in review of the NMC's pre-registration nursing education standards 

Future nurses must be equipped to be experts in the fundamentals of nursing care while also demonstrating leadership skills, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has heard. 

The NMC’s council met in Belfast yesterday and heard from Professor Dame Jill Macleod Clark, who is leading work for the regulator on developing new standards for pre-registration nursing education. 

Former nurse Dame Jill, of the University of Southampton’s faculty of health sciences, and a team of senior nurses have been meeting with nurses, nursing students, employers and university deans in all the UK countries.

Draft standards are to be published for consultation next year, to replace the NMC’s existing standards.

Speaking about the views she has heard, Dame Jill told the council meeting: ‘They all pointed to the need for a radical transformation of our current standards.’  

She said areas of focus for the new standards are likely to include: 

Providing nursing students with ‘higher order skills, knowledge and expertise’

‘A much greater emphasis on health promotion’

Ensuring nurses can work with patients with multiple health problems

Developing nurses as experts in the fundamentals of nursing care, with the ability to exercise leadership, particularly in terms of supervision and delegation

Equipping nurses to support members of the public who will have an ‘increasingly important role in the delivery of care’

She added: ‘We need to be following up the growing interface between health and social care and between physical and mental health.’

NMC chief executive Jackie Smith praised Dame Jill for a ‘huge amount of engagement across the four countries’.

Council member Robert Parry said: ‘I really feel we are going to produce standards that are fit for a future health service.’

A review of the midwifery standards has been put on hold because of wider midwifery regulation changes, but the NMC is still planning to look at them in future. 

The draft nursing standards are due to be ready for consultation by next March. 

They will be published later that year with a view to implementing them by 2018. 

Dame Jill said: ‘The timetable is challenging but do-able.’

The NMC was holding its regular council meeting in Belfast for the first time since 2010.