The Queen’s Nursing Institute has today published guidance for practice nurses taking on additional community work or roles at short notice during the coronavirus pandemic.
The ‘Minimum Bridging Competencies’ guidance, commissioned by NHS England, provides a professional framework to ensure that practice nurses working within the community are competent in the required clinical knowledge, skills and behaviours.
The guidance said cross-organisational working ‘will play an important role in alleviating pressure points in the system’ during the outbreak, adding that practice nurses in some areas already provide home visits to shielded patients, interventions to avoid admissions and facilitating hospital discharges.
It covers the first few days in a workplace, visiting skills in the community, clinical assessment skills, principles of assessment and management of long-term conditions, end of life care, population health and systems leadership.
The document also stressed that all registered nurses must ‘continue to work within the scope of practice and their individual capabilities when moving from one area of practice to another’, and that the community setting or district nursing team must be led by an experienced nurse.
QNI chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman said: ‘The vital role of community nurses may be less visible in the media than that of their hospital colleagues, but they are nonetheless playing a critical role in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘By supporting residents in their own communities 24/7, including some of the most vulnerable people in society, in both community and primary care settings, community nurses are vital to the whole system approach to protecting all our health at this critical time.’
Chief nursing office for England Ruth May said: ‘I am delighted to see this work to provide nurses across our primary and community services with the bridging competencies they need to support our most vulnerable patients in community settings.’
Practice nurses have been taking on extra responsibilities during the coronavirus outbreak, including helping to staff hot hubs, undertaking remote consultations and support community and district nurses in their roles.