Consultation has opened on standards for six community nursing specialisms, published by the Queen’s Nursing Institute, offering rigorous standards for advanced practice qualifications.
Draft standards published this week propose standards for advanced practice education, which are designed to underpin and support Specialist Practitioner Qualifications (SPQs) offered as a postgraduate degree in higher education.
The six ‘field specific standards’ for SPQs relate to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s SPQ published in 2022, which the QNI said ‘did not reflect the ‘high risk and unpredictable environments of care in the community’.
The draft standards are mapped across the NMC’s four pillars of advanced practice; clinical care, leadership and management, education and assessing learning, and evidence, research and development. These four pillars demonstrate the advanced level of practice at which SPQ level nurses are expected to work.
Dr Agnes Fanning, QNI Standards Project Manager said: ‘. Many people have been involved in the development of the drafts and we wish to ensure that they accurately reflect a broad and inclusive range of perspectives. The objective of the Standards is to establish a clear and consistent basis for advanced and specialist nurse education in the UK, with direct benefits on high quality care for people in the community.
The QNI said it has worked with representatives from health and social care organisations from the four countries of the UK to develop the standards. These representatives include national organisations, academics, managers, clinicians, front line staff, and service users, patients, experts by experience, carers and families.
The SPQ standards are now available for six specialisms: adult social care, community children’s nursing, community mental health nursing, district nursing, general practice nursing, and inclusion health nursing.
Standards for inclusion health nursing, a newly included category of advanced practice, lays out the specialist requirements needed for nurses working with homeless and particularly vulnerable patients.
The standards include categories such as ‘leadership in applying human rights, equality, diversity and inclusion, to improve the health and wellbeing of people, families and communities’ for adult social care, community mental health, and district nursing.
Nurses working as specialist practitioners in any of the fields will work independently and autonomously in complex and challenging situations. The QNI said that specialist practitioners will ‘role model leadership values and behaviours within teams of regulated and non-regulated staff and work with senior leaders of organisations to implement policy, working within legislative boundaries in their workplace’.
The documents also provide an outline of the endorsement process for higher education institutes who want to formally adopt the QNI standards for their own courses; and a further three standards will be published by the QNI later this year.
Speaking on the introduction of the field specific standards, 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.’