RCN urged to lobby for advanced nursing practice regulation

The RCN council should lobby and support the NMC in the development of advanced nursing practice regulation, delegates at the RCN Congress said.

Around 80% of the 399 delegates present in Bournemouth, Dorset, last month voted in favour of the resolution.

Claire Picton, a member of the RCN Emergency Care Association, raised the resolution and outlined how regulation of advanced nursing practice could enhance patient safety.

She said: ‘At the moment varying levels of education have the potential to have a negative impact on patient care if we are not sure that nurses practising at advanced level are competent.

‘Advanced nurse practitioners should be undertaking agreed core competencies so we obtain a more homogenous level of academic and experiential prerequisites.'

Ms Picton said regulation could enhance clinical governance, reduce the risk of incidents and make career pathways clearer.

‘Nurses need to publicise how they progress in their career. This publicity and regulation could help the public more than trying to obtain national uniforms for nursing,' she said.

She also said support should be given to advanced nurse practitioners who cannot demonstrate the required qualifications or competencies when regulation is introduced.

She added: ‘Remuneration for advanced nursing practice might, if we are not very careful, drop to the lowest common denominator rather than rising to the highest, so we would need to guard against that.'

Meanwhile Bethann Siviter, a member of the RCN south Birmingham branch, said regulation would provide transparency in the profession. 

She said: ‘If we had regulation and standards we would have clarity about what people did, what they were called, where they belong and what they could do.

‘Otherwise all the work that we have done to develop advances nursing practice could be lost.'

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