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RCN to lobby for PN qualification

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Practice nursing has come a step closer to a recognised national qualification and career pathway, following a vote at RCN Congress.

Delegates passed a resolution asking the Council to lobby commissioners and regulators to support development of a recognised national qualification and career pathway for practice nurses. The resolution was proposed by the 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 speakers expressed incredulity that the problems around continuing education and development for the practice nurse workforce persisted today, when they had been present in the early 90s.

Several speakers raised that GPs might need to be expected and required to release practice nurses for training and development.

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

A common theme during the discussion was that practice and district nurses continued to tell interested post-registration nurses that they needed experience before applying for practice and district nurse posts.Since most university placements remain hospital-based this meant that newly qualified nurses were being encouraged to gain work in that setting, leading to an inevitable loss of some of them to hospital nursing. The meeting agreed that the myth around experience needed busting.

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