WiPP's Supporting Nurse and Practice survey of 1,161 nurses working in general practice showed that 12.7 per cent had the nurse practitioner qualification, but 15.4 per cent were using the nurse practitioner title.
It is believed that the figures are the first time the scale of this problem has been identified.
Jenny Aston, chair of the RCN's Nurse Practitioner Association, described the figures as ‘worrying'. ‘It leads patients to expect that nurses have a level of training they don't,' she said.
She added that regulation of the role was vital because at present ‘anybody can use the title nurse practitioner.'
RCN primary care adviser Lynn Young said it was ‘absolutely wrong' for nurses to call themselves nurse practitioners without having the appropriate qualification, adding that the title ‘should not be abused'.
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