The NMC has confirmed it will explore whether to regulate advanced practice this year following the publication of its post-registration standards.
In a statement to Nursing in Practice, Professor Geraldine Walters, executive director of professional practice at the NMC, said the regulator will begin the ‘large-scale review, engagement, collaboration with other regulators, and consultation’ into regulating advanced practice later this year.
She continued: ‘It will be important to understand the range of views and experiences of nursing and midwifery professionals, and our stakeholders. Even if there’s widespread support for advanced practice, we’ll only get the detail right by working closely with our partners.’
The most recent NMC Council papers from March suggest the nursing regulator is looking to approve new standards for advanced nursing practice by 2025.
The NMC first announced its review into advanced practice in 2019 after finding there is currently ‘little regulatory oversight’ over the field and a ‘patchwork’ of education across the UK.
Professor Walters said work will begin after the NMC publishes its new post-registration standards, which she argued will act as a ‘bridge’ to its work on advanced practice.
She explained that post-registration specialisms reflect ‘some components of advanced practice’ and ‘surpass the level of knowledge and skill expected at initial registration’.
The NMC is currently working to refine the final post-registration standards after a draft version was found to be ‘largely fit for purpose’ in a consultation earlier this year, although concerns re-emerged that they are ‘too generic’ for some community specialisms.
Professor Walters continued: ‘These post registration standards will represent the higher level of knowledge, skill and professional judgement needed for clinical autonomy as, specialist community, and public health nurses and will be in place ahead of any considerations for the regulation of advanced practice that will apply to any nurse working in any setting.’