Standards for education and practice for community practice teaching have been published by the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI), to support training for nurses starting work in the community.
The new Standards of Education and Practice for Community Practice Teaching include a set of benchmarks and guidance outlining the transition for nurses working in practice supervisor and practice assessor roles to become a community practice teacher.
The QNI said that since the withdrawal of the NMC community nursing practice teacher standards in 2019, the practice teacher qualification ceased to be offered by many higher education institutes. This has a negative impact on community education at the advanced level, they said.
The publication comes as the latest of standards for advanced nursing qualifications published by the QNI. Since 2015, the QNI has published standards for specialisms including district nurses, community children’s nurses, and care home nurses.
Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, the QNI’s chief executive said the organisation was delighted to be able to make this further contribution to community nursing.
‘This genuinely collaborative project is a testament to the leadership of registered nurses in education and practice that will support future Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) and Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) learner development,’ she said.
‘The Standards make explicit the knowledge framework required to support, supervise and assess a higher level of practice demonstrated by Registered Nurses completing an NMC approved post-registration programme, preparing them to work autonomously and engage in complex decision-making.’
Community practice teacher is a qualification for practitioners working in the community who has already taken an NMC-approved post registration SPQ or SCPHN.
Practice teachers, previously referred to as ‘mentors’ by the NMC, play an important role in community practise by working with placement nurses and new starters.
Helen Lewis, an advanced nurse practitioner working in general practice in Wales, and member of the Nursing in Practice advisory board, welcomed the publication of the teaching standards.
‘To have somebody who is community based who is a community teacher is worth a lot,’ said Ms Lewis, ‘because for new staff coming into community it can be a big change’.
She added: ‘There is a balance of power that changes when you come into community and new starters may have had only minimal experience of that. They need to be introduced to the job so we need to have a framework in place to support them.’
Ms Lewis also pointed out that as more patients are dismissed into the community from hospital it will become more important to have well trained teams to support their recovery.
‘If you have an influx of patients you have to have a community team up and running,’ she said.