The QNI has said it is developing nine community nursing standards to help employers and educators apply the NMC’s core standards to specific fields of practice.
The organisation yesterday published a prospectus document outlining its rationale and strategy for developing the standards for Specialist Practitioner Qualifications (SPQs), due to be published in 2023. This follows an advisory board meeting overseeing the field-specific standards on Tuesday.
This comes after QNI raised concerns in summer 2021, while the NMC was consulting on draft standards, that one set of standards could lead to unwarranted variation in the content and quality field-specific courses.
Although the NMC had argued that its final standards, published in May, address these concerns by making clear that proficiencies must be met within a nurse’s field of practise, the QNI argues the new standards still ‘do not reflect’ the advanced skills, knowledge and skills required for nurses working in ‘high risk and unpredictable environments of care in the community’.
Introducing the prospect document, it said: ‘Under the QNI’s proposals, individual nurses will have access to clearer and more distinctive and nationally agreed educational pathways, contextualised within each specific field of practice and reflecting an advanced level of practice.’
The QNI says its nine-field-specific standards will be designed to ‘enhance’ the NMC core standards, and will cover: adult social care, community children’s nursing, community mental health nursing, district nursing, general practice nursing, homeless and inclusion health nursing, criminal justice nursing, community learning disability nursing, and hospice nursing.
The first six of these will be released in January 2023 following a consultation to begin in December of this year. The following three standards (criminal, learning disability, and hospice) will be released in July 2023.
Professor John Unsworth, chair of the QNI council, said: ‘Creating our future community nursing workforce requires a consistent approach to the development of excellent practice and clinical leadership.
‘Our work on specific standards is designed to build upon the broad regulatory standards of the NMC to ensure that wherever a person lives, works or accesses services the care they receive is of the highest quality, based on evidence and tailored to their own individual needs.’
It is hoped that these standards will provide benefits for nurses, employers and for universities in three key areas.
First, the QNI says that the standards will articulate the essential skills and experience necessary to practice autonomously at an advanced level.
Second, the standards will enable employers to know that nurses applying for posts around the UK have the necessary skills and knowledge for particular roles.
Finally, the QNI hopes that the standards will support community nurses to lead teams and provide the best possible patient care.
Dr Crystal Oldman, QNI chief executive, said: ‘The QNI’s field specific standards of education and practice will enable the development – and assessment – SPQ programmes that are tailored to deliver the field-specific skills and knowledge required for specialist community nursing practice.
‘Universities offering SPQs mapped against the QNI’s field-specific standards will have an attractive offer for post-registration students wishing to progress their career and practice at an advanced level, within a recognised specialism.’
The new standards are being developed and agreed by all four countries in the UK, and are being developed by a new advisory board convened for this purpose.