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Call to ensure district nurses 'become assertive and influential' leaders

RCN congress resolution to bolster district nurses' qualifications passed with majority vote
Julie Bliss

RCN council has been urged to lobby for all district nurses who manage caseloads to hold a specialist practitioner qualification.

District nurses’ forum member Julie Bliss proposed the resolution at RCN congress this week. She said against a background of diminishing staff numbers and lack of resources ‘it is essential that district nurses are assertive, influential leaders’.

Julie Bliss at RCN congress. Photo: John Houlihan

This group of staff should be developed, not depleted, she said.

The specialist practitioner qualification (SPQ) is Nursing and Midwifery Council accredited and made up of modules that post-graduate nurses choose in order to follow their favoured career path.

Declining workforce

Speaking at congress in Glasgow’s Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre today (21 June) Ms Bliss added: ‘Recent research found district nurses felt their role was one of continual juggling and balancing.

‘There continues to be a 35%

RCN council has been urged to lobby for all district nurses who manage caseloads to hold a specialist practitioner qualification.

District nurses’ forum member Julie Bliss proposed the resolution at RCN congress this week. She said against a background of diminishing staff numbers and lack of resources ‘it is essential that district nurses are assertive, influential leaders’.


Julie Bliss at RCN congress. Photo: John Houlihan

This group of staff should be developed, not depleted, she said.

The specialist practitioner qualification (SPQ) is Nursing and Midwifery Council accredited and made up of modules that post-graduate nurses choose in order to follow their favoured career path.

Declining workforce

Speaking at congress in Glasgow’s Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre today (21 June) Ms Bliss added: ‘Recent research found district nurses felt their role was one of continual juggling and balancing.

‘There continues to be a 35% reduction in their numbers since 2010, two in three district nurses working in Ireland do not hold the SPQ, and in Wales it has ceased to become a prerequisite for team leaders.’

Marie-Therese Massey, from the RCN’s general practice nursing forum seconded the resolution, arguing that nationally agreed standards were needed.

Eye-opener

East Dorset member Victoria Whittingham added that within her own trust alone: ‘We estimate five years until 90% of our team leaders retire.’

West Midlands specialist practice district nurse Victoria Smith described completing the SPQ as a really difficult year, but she added that after taking the qualification, her eyes were opened to strategic planning and so much more. She asked if she would have learned as much had she instead trained in a less structured manner.

Neil Thompson, from the UK safety representatives’ committee, and a district nurse since 1982, said that district nurses really noticed the benefit of the specialist practitioner qualification, after practising without it.

Further information:

RCN congress district nurse debate

 

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