Government will consider protecting ‘nurse’ title amid growing pressure

It comes after a recent high-profile case “underlined the limitations of “Nurse” not being a protected title”.

James McKay
5 July 2021
District Nurse visiting Man at Home

The petition has since continued to grow and now has more than 20,000 signatures.

The Government has said it will consider protecting the title “nurse” amid mounting pressure from the profession and general public.

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It comes following a petition calling for the title to be protected gained more than 10,000 signatures within the week. The petition has since continued to grow and now has more than 20,000 signatures.

The petition’s author, Alison Leary, emphasises that “The term nurse can be used by anyone in the UK. They can use this term to offer professional advice and services even if they have no nursing qualifications, experience or have been struck off a professional register.”

Ongoing review.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has also called for a discussion on protecting the “Nurse” title. It comes after a recent high-profile case “underlined the limitations of “Nurse” not being a protected title”.

In a formal response by the Government, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) writes; “The Department of Health and Social Care is reviewing the protection of titles as part of the ongoing government review of the regulation of healthcare professionals.

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“The protection of a professional titles is important for public protection. Protecting a title provides assurance to the public that someone using that title is competent and safe to practise.”

It continues by adding; “Although ‘registered nurse’ is a protected title, ‘nurse’ is currently not a protected title. The Government is aware of the concerns which this generates, along with the complications associated with protecting the nurse title given that it is used in multiple professions (e.g. registered nurses, dental nurses, school nurses and veterinary nurses).”

Clarity to clinicians and patients.

Following mounting pressure on social media for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to support the petition, a spokesperson for the union told NursingNotes that they were currently engaging with members “on the details of the issue” but failed to clarify an exact stance.

A spokesperson for the union said; “As a College, we are proud advocates of strong professional regulation and the clarity it gives to clinicians and patients alike.

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“This petition was brought by a member of the RCN’s professional committee and it has secured a quick initial response from government. The RCN is continuing to engage with its members on the details of the issue.”

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