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Nursing associates to administer medications, draft NMC standards show

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has released its drafts of the skills annexe and standards of proficiency for nursing associates, including clarifying their ability to administer medicines.

The skills annexe lists the communication skills and nursing procedures that form part of the standards of proficiency for the nursing associate role, which will be regulated by the NMC.

Nursing associates, once qualified, will be expected to administer various medications to patients and recognise and respond to any adverse or abnormal reactions.

The NMC also states they will be interpreting the results of blood glucose and urinalysis.

Competencies required for evidence-based medicines management

  • Demonstrate how to continually assess people receiving care and their ongoing ability to administer their own medications. Know when and how to escalate any concerns.
  • Recognise the various routes under which medicines can be prescribed, supplied, dispensed and administered; and the laws, policies, regulations and guidance that underpin them.
  • Undertake accurate drug calculations for a range of medications.
  • Exercise professional accountability in administering medicines safely to those receiving care.
  • Administer medication via oral, topical and inhalation routes. Administer injections using subcutaneous and intradermal routes and manage injection equipment.
  • Administer and monitor medications using enteral equipment.
  • Administer enemas and suppositories in line with prescription.
  • Manage and monitor symptom relief medication.
  • Recognise and respond to adverse or abnormal reactions to medications.
  • Undertake safe storage, transportation and disposal of medicinal products.

The first nursing associates are currently training across 35 test sites and will work alongside existing clinical support workers and registered nurses to deliver hands-on care for patients.

The draft standards, which may change in advance of the public consultation in the spring, have been shared with the pilot sites to help ensure their programmes are aligned as far as possible to the final standards before the first students qualify in 2019.

'We have engaged with test sites and educators throughout the development of the draft standards of proficiency. At this point the majority of feedback has been positive and there is agreement on the ‘direction of travel’ from those currently training nursing associates,' the NMC said.

The NMC has created a timeline of the key developments of the role and is currently working with stakeholders to develop the programme requirements for nursing associates, which will be formally consulted on in spring 2018.