The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has opened a public consultation on standards of education and practice for post-registration community nursing.

The QNI urges all community nurses and anyone with an interest to engage with this consultation, because the proposed standards will have a significant impact on the education of nurses leading and managing nurse-led services in the community – and ultimately, and most importantly, on the care of individuals and families in the communities served. The deadline to respond is 2 August 2021.

The NMC consultation affects the existing five recordable Specialist Practitioner Qualifications (SPQs): District Nursing, General Practice Nursing, Community Mental Health Nursing, Community Learning Disabilities Nursing, and Community Children’s Nursing. It also has significant implications and presents opportunities for nurses leading teams in other nurse led-services in the community, such as Care Home Nursing and in Homeless and Inclusion Health services.

The Queen’s Nursing Institute is very concerned that the NMC proposes that in future there will be no field-specific (or ‘bespoke’) standards of proficiency for the five individual annotated qualifications. Community Specialist Practitioners are working at an advanced level of practice, leading the teams and the care provided for people with highly complex health needs. Each role requires both shared and specialist knowledge and skills.

We are concerned that core standards of proficiency, without specific standards for the annotated qualifications, risks leading to considerable unwarranted variation in community post-registration qualifications, resulting in confusion and inconsistency for students, educators, and employers.

The QNI, QNI Scotland, the RCN and seven other professional nursing groups have articulated some of the field-specific standards we believe are required for these roles. Without field-specific standards set by the NMC or any other expert professional organisation, ultimately there is a risk that the public will not be adequately protected.

Read our press release of 15 March 2021, including the text of our letter to the NMC of 12 March and our comments on the NMC’s Pye Tait report of November 2020.

Link to NMC website – Future Community Nurse consultation (opens in new window).

Register for NMC webinars here (opens in new window).

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to influence the future of nursing care in the community in the United Kingdom. The QNI believes it is vital that the nursing profession, working collectively, gets this right, and we want to help the NMC to get it right for the nursing profession and for the communities served.

Social Media Campaign Assets and Template Letters

Please download the social media assets below and share them to help spread the message. Please use the hashtag: #SpecificStandards as part of our campaign.

We have also created four letter templates that you are welcome and encouraged to use if you would like to write to the NMC. Please edit your letter to reflect your personal circumstances and views, and send it to: [email protected]  . You can copy in [email protected] if you wish.

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing

The consultation also affects the registrable qualification of Specialist Community Public Health Nurse with annotations of Health Visiting, Occupational Health Nursing and School Nursing. The QNI is broadly satisfied with the review of these specialisms, which include core and specialist standards of proficiency.

Voluntary Standards

The QNI and QNI Scotland have produced voluntary standards for some key areas of Specialist Community Nursing Practice in recent years.

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