Future nurses will need a wider range of skills to cover all settings according to a new report from the Council of Deans of Health.
The document looks into the ways that future pre-registration nursing standards will have to evolve to create a nursing workforce fit for the direction the NHS is headed in.
It was released to look at the role of future nurses in light of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) decision to review the standards for pre-registration nursing training. The current standards were last reviewed in 2010.
The report stated that due to the increasing ageing population and the fact that more care will be undertaken in homes, ‘registered nurses are likely to be expected to work increasingly autonomously, sometimes without the context of a structured team of equivalent registered professionals to hand’.
Professor Jan Draper, the chair of the Council of Deans advisory group on the future nurse, argued that the review presented an opportunity to debate the future direction of nurse education and the ways in which universities and practice organisations design models of practice learning.
‘This includes how to best develop high-quality practice educators to ensure nurses have the requisite skills and competencies needed at the start of their careers,’ she said.
The review also stated that nursing education must incorporate technological skills as more organisations are expected to adopt telehealth and IT systems.
The review of the standards could also be an opportunity to discuss prescribing skills and exposure to prescribing practice within pre-registration nursing education. ‘There are differences of view on the extent to which prescribing should be included within pre-registration courses but this should be teased out and the evidence base examined as part of the detailed standards development,’ said the report.
It also recommends that registered nurses should work towards higher level skills in diagnosis and assessments of patients with complex needs and severe mental health problems.
Jackie Smith, the chief executive of the NMC welcomed the report and said that it was ‘very much aligned with our direction of travel, as we continue to develop our new standards for pre-registration nursing education’.
The Council of Deans stated that this paper has been presented as a stimulus for discussion and is looking forward to working with members and organisations involved in nursing education.
‘UK-wide collaboration is key to shaping the future of nursing education and the development of skills needed to support delivery of high quality patient care,’ said Professor Draper.