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Janet Finch: NMC’s radical approach will improve care and support the profession

The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s outgoing chair Dame Janet Finch explains some important recent decisions, including the new fitness to practise strategy, education standards for registered nurses and a consultation on the nursing associate role

The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s outgoing chair Dame Janet Finch explains some important recent decisions, including the new fitness to practise strategy, education standards for registered nurses and a consultation on the nursing associate role


Picture: iStock

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has taken key decisions to move to the next stage on some important areas of our work – our proposed new fitness to practise strategy, our nursing associate consultation and new education standards for registered nurses.

The decisions agreed at the Council’s March meeting allow us to make progress with our work on new education standards. Ambitious and outcome-focused, they will give future nurses the knowledge and skills they need to deliver excellent care across a range of settings.

These standards will radically overhaul and shape the future of nursing education for the next generation, ensuring that all nurses, no matter what their field of practice, are able to understand, support and care for people’s physical and mental health needs.

Consultation on nursing associates

All education providers will need to develop new programmes and have them approved by January 2020 at the latest, when the new standards will come into force.

In January next year the NMC will take responsibility for regulating the nursing associate role. Provided the Department of Health and Social Care succeeds in securing the necessary legislative changes, we will open a new section of our register to this third professional group in time to admit the first trainees from courses organised by Health Education England.

The Council agreed to hold a public consultation on our proposed approach to regulating nursing associates. This includes how the Code will apply to the role, the standards of proficiency that nursing associates will be required to achieve, registration and revalidation.

Healthcare needs are evolving

Although Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have said they do not plan to use this role, our register will be open to anyone from anywhere in the world who holds equivalent qualifications and meets the necessary criteria.

In preliminary work with a wide range of stakeholders we have tackled some challenging issues around the nursing associate role, with many people concerned that it might erode the role of the registered nurse.

We have taken steps to address these concerns while also recognising that nurses’ work changes over time as the health system and people’s healthcare needs evolve.

Best for patients

Our aim is to capture the best for patients and service users from these changes and support the professionalism of all our registrants.

The consultation was launched on 9 April and runs until 2 July. I encourage everyone to get involved and share their views.

This is my last column as chair of the NMC Council. My term of office finishes at the end of April and I will hand over to my successor Philip Graf. Occupying this role has been a privilege and a rewarding experience.


Dame Janet Finch is chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council 

 

 

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