The UK needs a coherent approach to advanced nursing roles, says Sam Foster, Executive Director of Professional Practice, Nursing and Midwifery Council, which the NMC is now in the process of considering
In my new role at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) I am excited to be leading the review to consider if we should regulate advanced nursing and midwifery practice, which is part of the NMC corporate plan 2023-25 (NMC, 2023).
Beech et al (2019) published findings from research undertaken at The Nuffield Trust, outlining several high-impact interventions. These, if put into action, could help improve the workforce crisis. One recommendation was that, in the interests of both patients and public, Health Education England and professional regulators should actively and co-operatively support the ability of non-medical staff to safely undertake advanced clinical roles and extend their scope of practice.
Citing the UK as an outlier, Beech et al (2019) made a key recommendation: ‘In the interests of patients and staff, we recommend that the Department of Health and Social Care and the professional regulators give consideration to more formal national regulation of advanced practice.’ They cited problems with the regulatory framework, including the absence of protected titles or a clear national competence framework, warning that this opens up clinical governance risks, and is likely to inhibit the portability and sustainability of roles.
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