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NMC Responds to ‘Nursing Associate’ Role

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Nursing Associate

The Nursing and Midwifery Council have made it clear that the new routes into the Nursing profession must have the same “robust approach” as the current degree. 

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Commenting on the announcement of the introduction of a new role of nursing associate, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, Jackie Smith, said (1):

“The introduction of this new role is an important development for the nursing profession and as the regulator for nursing and midwifery we will be carefully considering our role moving forward.

“The starting point for any new role in healthcare has to be its contribution to improving patient safety and quality and as such there will be some important considerations, including whether nursing associates should be regulated.

“It is for the government to determine the policy position in discussion with others, but while we are supportive of widening access into the nursing profession, it will be important that any new routes into the profession have the same robust approach that the existing university degree route provides. As the Minister rightly points out, an apprenticeship in nursing as a route to eventual registered nurse status must ‘have complete equality of both esteem and rigour’ as a degree.

“We will be responding fully to the consultation and look forward to continuing to work closely with the government and Health Education England on this important issue.”

Because the NMC sets the criteria for the registration of new Nurses they are in a fantastic position to help ensure the education undertaken in the alternative routes into nursing is of the same standard of those using the traditional routes.

Currently under consultation the specifics of the role have yet to be outlined but many Nurses have called the new Nursing Associates to hold a registration with either the NMC or Health Professionals Council and have professional accountability for the actions or decisions they make.

You can take part in the consultation by completing this online survey or by downloading a survey response form and emailing it to [email protected].

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NMC launches consultation on proposed standards for nursing associates

Under the plans nursing associates would also be subject to the same revalidation requirements as nurses and midwives when renewing their registration with the NMC as well as the same fitness to practise processes should something go wrong.

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council has announced the launch of the consultation the proposed approach to the regulation of nursing associates.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have outlined an approach to education including ambitious standards of proficiency for the role that will enable nursing associates to deliver first-class care.

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According to Health Education England (HEE), the Nursing Associate role is a new support role which will sit alongside existing healthcare support workers and fully-qualified registered nurses to deliver hands-on care for patients. The role is designed to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants (HCAs) and registered nurses.

2,000 trainee nursing associates are currently just over half-way through their two-year training programmes to become registered nursing associates and HEE has announced 45,000 extra places before 2027.

The NMC has set out how they expect the existing Code, with a new introduction, to apply to nursing associates as well as nurses and midwives, ensuring that the same high standards of professional behaviour and conduct will apply to everyone on the register.

Jackie Smith Chief Executive and Registrar of the NMC said: “This is a hugely exciting step on the road to regulation for this new profession and we want to hear the views of all those with an interest in the role.

“We think that our proposals will ensure that nursing associates are equipped with the skills they need to deliver excellent patient care and to support registered nurses and other health and care professionals throughout their careers.”

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Under the plans nursing associates would also be subject to the same revalidation requirements as nurses and midwives when renewing their registration with the NMC as well as the same fitness to practise processes should something go wrong.

Over the coming weeks, the NMC will be holding workshops across the country for trainees, registered nurses, employers, patients and the public. There will also be regular twitter chats and webinars with lots of opportunities for people to learn more about what regulation means for the new role and share their views.

The Consultation on the regulation of a new profession will run until 2nd July 2018.

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NMC removes cap on hours student nurses can complete in simulated practice

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council has announced it will lift the cap on simulated training for student nurses.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced it has removed the hard cap on the number of clinical hours, which is currently set at 300 hours, student nurses can instead complete in simulated practice.

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Initially, the regulator said it wanted to raise the cap to 1,150 hours but critics raised concerns about the reduction in time on clinical placements.

The results of the consultation showed that a significant proportion of respondents wanted there to continue to be a cap as many showed concern it would reduce the total number of hours completed on clinical placements.

Instead, the NMC has not specified a cap but warned that they would be monitoring universities use of simulation.

The NMC says this flexible approach aligns with other UK healthcare regulators.

An NMC spokesperson told the NursingTimes“We will no longer state a maximum number for hours of simulation to be included in educational programmes for pre-registration nursing.

“Our new approach is to be less prescriptive and more outcome-focused, allowing autonomy to enhance and develop forms and uses of simulation for learning and assessment that facilitate safe and effective care,”

“However, we will monitor and ensure that the type of simulation, and how it is applied, is appropriate to meet the learning outcomes of our standards through our educational quality assurance process,”

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NMC to ‘investigate’ rise in the annual registration fee

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The nursing regulator will keep the fee at £120 for this year but says it will need to review the fee ahead of next year.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has confirmed it will not raise the annual registration fee this year but says it will need to review the payment in more detail ahead of next year.

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Falling numbers of nurses are the “greatest risk”, admits the NMC, and goes on to explain that it predicts a £1.4m loss between the current financial year and 2018-19 because of nurses leaving the register.

Offical figures show that more nurses are now leaving the NMC register than joining.

The yearly retention fee payment has seen a rise of 64% since 2013 despite NHS pay being increased by only 4%.

Although nursing associates are set to join the NMC it is thought the two budgets would be ring-fenced.

It states; “Our budget for 2018-19 assumes a continuation of the fee at £120 with a further potential decline in income as described previously.

“Given we are in a relatively healthy financial position, we are not proposing an increase in the fee this year.

“During 2018-19, we will be reviewing the fee level in more detail, as well as improving the modelling of income for future years. This reflects growing concern about the long-term trend of the size of the register”.

NMC fee increases are approved by the Privy Council and are subjected to external consultation.

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