Time for recognition where it’s due

An RCN project that will provide formal credentials for advanced nursing skills is a positive step for the profession, says editor Graham Scott

What’s your job title? Chances are it’s one of the many traditional monikers, such as staff nurse, that the profession has used for decades.

Some may sound old fashioned, or assume that all nurses are female, but most resonate with patients and the public and have stood the test of time.

Other job titles are less clear. For example, what is a specialist nurse, and how does this differ from a nurse specialist?

Further up the chain, what knowledge and skills mark out an advanced nurse practitioner?

Formal recognition

The RCN has embarked on a project to answer these questions by developing a comprehensive career pathway for the whole nursing profession.

It will involve a credentialing scheme that will give formal recognition to advanced level nursing practice.

Dame Donna Kinnair, the college’s director of nursing, policy and practice, says the objective is to offer assurances to employers, other members of the healthcare team and the public that nurses in advanced roles are indeed operating at a higher level than their colleagues.

Speaking at a Queen’s Nursing Institute conference, she said: ‘We will be at the forefront of developing recognition of high-quality nursing practice, from first degree to master's in advanced nursing and beyond. We will lead on new roles, new skill sets and new ways of working for nurses.’

Nursing as a profession stands to gain considerably from this work.

For too long, policymakers, employers and general managers have been allowed to define nursing, so it’s good to see nursing’s royal college asserting itself in this way.

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