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New standards for the next wave of nurses

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The ‘ambitious’ standards will introduce more modern and innovative approaches to training by universities and practice partners

The future of nursing will be shaped by a new set of standards laid out by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The ‘ambitious’ standards will introduce more modern and innovative approaches to training by universities and practice partners.

‘Our new standards represent a huge leap forward. They raise the bar for the next generation of nurses and not only match the demands of the role but the ambition of the profession,’ said Jackie Smith, chief executive and registrar of the NMC.

‘We’ve also overhauled the way universities train nurses and midwives. They’ll be given more flexibility to harness new ways of working and embrace technology so they can equip the nurses and midwives of tomorrow with the skills they need to deliver world class care for years to come.’

The standards won’t change the four fields of nursing practice: adult, child, learning disability and mental health. They will prepare nurses for greater responsibilities in public health and for increasing prescribing opportunities – which can be achieved immediately after qualification rather than waiting for 3 years.

The new standards have been developed over the past 2 years by nurses, students, educators, health professionals, charities and patient groups from across the UK.

There will now be seven platforms within the standards of proficiency:

  • Being an accountable profession
  • Promoting health and preventing ill health
  • Assessing needs and planning care
  • Providing and evaluating care
  • Leading and managing nursing care and working in teams
  • Improving safety and quality of care
  • Coordinating care.

According to the standards, placement mentors will now occupy two new roles – practice supervisors will support and supervise students, and practice assessors, who will not be training students but will make sure the sufficient learning is taking place.

The first students who will train according to these standards could start as soon as January 2019, but the standards are not expected to be fully implemented until 2020.

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