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Nurse definitions beyond registration launched by RCN

Nurse definitions beyond registration launched by RCN

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has introduced new nurse definitions beyond registration.

The definitions are designed to help registered nurses aspire to practise at different levels as well as give clarity to employers, higher education institutions and the public.

The new definitions are:

  • Enhanced – registered nurses who have gained additional post-registration education and experiential learning in a relevant subject area.
  • Advanced – registered nurses with substantial experience and expertise.
  • Consultant – registered nurses who have progressed from an advanced level within their field or speciality.

The RCN said work was still ongoing for the introduction of levels for nursing support workers. When finalised, this will include assistant practitioners and registered nursing associate roles.

The new definitions are one element of the RCN professional framework, underpinned by its definition and principles of nursing, which were revised and published last year.

Rachel Hollis, chair of the RCN Professional Nursing Committee that is overseeing the development of the professional framework, said: ‘Beyond the point of registration, the work of the registered nurse increases in its complexity. This is inconsistently and poorly recognised by employers, policy makers and the public.

‘We set out to change this, and a working group, made up of expert members and staff from the RCN nursing department, have come together to clarify and bring consistency to the levels of nursing practice.’

The new definitions follow the recent introduction of an ‘enhanced’ practice nurse level, added to the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS).

Enhanced practice nurses – experienced GPNs with postgraduate qualifications – should work as part of a multidisciplinary team within a primary care network to deliver ‘enhanced clinical care in the context of continual change, challenging environments, different models of care delivery, innovation and rapidly evolving technologies’, according to  the latest Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES) specification.

The Primary Care and General Practice Nursing Career and Core Capabilities Framework – to which the role is aligned – states enhanced practice nurses are a level in between registered nurses and advanced level practice nurses.

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