Advanced nurse practitioners must be regulated by NMC, says Brown

Advanced nursing practice must be regulated to ensure that advanced practitioners are competent to carry out their roles and functions, a government report recommends.

The PM's report on the future of nursing advises regulation of the profession for public protection
The PM's report on the future of nursing advises regulation of the profession for public protection

The proposal is one of 20 recommendations included in a report by the Prime Minister's Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery in England.

The report said the Nursing and Midwifery Council should be responsible for the regulation of advanced nurse practitioners.

'Many of these [advanced practitioner roles] have evolved locally, and there is little consistency in terms of job content, title, scope of practice or credentials. We encourage collaboration by all stakeholders to provide better public protection and reassurance, including consideration of minimum qualifications for advanced practitioner roles,' the report said.

It also recommended that ‘urgent steps' must be taken to protect the title ‘nurse' and limit its use to nurses registered by the NMC, in an effort to ‘ensure public protection and allay confusion about roles, titles and responsibilities'.     

NMC chief executive Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes welcomed the recommendations.

‘The commission has given the NMC a clear mandate to regulate advanced nursing practice and protect the title ‘nurse'. Both of these are issues which cause concern to the public because there is a lack of clarity and some confusion as to what the various job titles and the associated competencies imply.'

Ann Keen, chair of the commission, said: ‘This agenda is ambitious, as it should be.

‘Acting on it would help provide an excellent return on the investment required. Achieving it will require sustained effort not only from the government, but also from employers, educators, other stakeholders, and not least nurses and midwives themselves.'

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