Petition calling for nurse title to be legally protected rapidly gains support

Under current legislation, only the term “Registered Nurse” is legally protected requiring registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

James McKay
16 June 2021
District Nurse visiting Man at Home

Legal protection is needed in order to “protect the public”, says its author.

Registered nurses in the UK are calling for the title “nurse” to be protected by law.

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With over 5,000 signatures in less than 48 hours, a petition calling for the title “nurse” to be legally protected is rapidly gaining the support of both the profession and the public.

Under current legislation, only the term “Registered Nurse” is legally protected requiring registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

In contrast, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, dietitian and paramedic are all legally protected titles and professionals must be registered with The Health and Care Professions Council in order to use them.

To protect the public.

The author of the petition says it is needed to “protect the public”.

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The petition reads; “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.

“To protect the public, the title nurse should be limited to those who are registered with professional regulators such as Registered Nurses and Dental Nurses.

“This would be the same as titles such as paramedic and physiotherapist, which are limited to those on the professional registers.”

The petition comes following a year where, more than ever before, the public needs to be able to rely on information given out by registered practitioners.

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Reputation.

Leanne Patrick, a registered nurse and supporter of the petition, told NursingNotes; “As the most trusted profession year upon year, our title should be protected to ensure that reputation remains intact.

“Many people take the nurse title to mean registered nurse, which presents a clear patient safety issue as it is open to misuse.

“Nurses who have been struck off the register and even people who have never been nurses at all are able to use the title freely and without consequence.

“It is long overdue for change. If we are owed anything as a profession, particularly following the pandemic response, it is the simple right to protect the title we work to maintain such high degrees of trust in.”

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