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Practice nurse qualification raised up agenda

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RCN Council will support the development of a recognised national qualification and career pathway for practice nursing, following a vote at RCN Congress in Liverpool on Tuesday.

Practice nursing will benefit from a resolution passed by delegates asking Council to lobby commissioners and regulators to support the development of a recognised national qualification and career pathway for practice nurses.

The resolution was proposed by RCN's South of Tyne and Wear branch. During a positive debate that preceded voting, nurses spoke on a range of issues and challenges facing practice nursing today. Several nurses expressed incredulity that the problems around continuing education and development for the practice nurse workforce still persisted today, when they had been present in the early 90s.

Several speakers raised that GP support would be necessary and suggested that expectations and requirements for GPs to release PNs for training and development would be necessary.

As greater numbers of patients are expected to be diagnosed and treated in the community, developing the skills of existing practice nurses and attracting younger nurses into the profession will be vital to satisfy demand.

During a fringe session held by the RCN's Practice Nurse Association and District Nurse Forum following the debate, the need for a funding stream to enable practice managers and GPs to release PNs to mentor students and newly qualified nurses was thought essential to drawing greater numbers of younger nurses into practice and district nursing.

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