Unite-CPHVA urges more members to respond to NMC consultation on post-registration standards

23 July 2021

Unite-CPHVA Welsh chair and SCPHN programme manager Amanda Holland, and Unite health sector lead professional officer for regulation Jane Beach look at the current review of SCPHN standards. 

Unite-CPHVA has been calling for the Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (SCPHN) standards to be reviewed for more than 10 years. Consequently, we were delighted when work began on the NMC consultation on post-registration standards, and we have been involved in all aspects of the programme since. 

We held a series of webinars for members throughout March, April and May to capture your thoughts and concerns. The feedback obtained from these has been really helpful in forming our response and we thank those who attended. In order to finalise our response on your behalf, we held a final webinar recently to discuss the main themes that have been presented. The direction of travel was overwhelming supported, and some excellent examples to highlight the points were provided.

It was clear from our engagement events that although there may be some amendments required to the proficiency standards, the main concerns were around the proposed programme standards. In particular, the length of the programme, consolidated practice, supervision and assessment and prescribing. 

We conducted a number of polls focusing on these areas during the webinars. The results are presented below:

  • In relation to the length of the programme, 69% disagreed with the NMC proposal and felt the length of programme should be set by the NMC
  • 86% disagreed that the mandatory requirement for consolidated practice should be removed. Members felt strongly that this period is when students are able to put their newly acquired knowledge and skills into practice in a safe, supportive environment. They consider the requirement for 50 hours should be maintained.
  • The main concerns that have so far been raised relate to the importance of standardisation across the UK to protect students and enable equal learning opportunities.

It is difficult to answer anything but yes to the questions around supervision and assessment. However, this is where we received the most comments:

  • 93% agreed with the requirement to comply with the Standards for Student Supervision and Assessment (SSSA).
  • Despite the support for applying the standards, it came across strongly that the application of the SSSA standards to post-registration SCPHN students does not adequately prepare students or support those undertaking the supervisor and assessor roles.
  • In terms of the requirement for prior learning and experience and preceptorship, 90% agreed. Again, it is difficult not to agree with this, but it is felt that there needs to be more direction around specific requirements for post-registration SCPHN students. 

There were varying opinions on prescribing, with the reality being that few SCPHNs are subsequently supported by their organisation to prescribe. It was also considered that with an already packed programme, it should be an additional component.  

Despite the extra challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the NMC report has had nearly 1000 responses so far. This puts it on a par with the Future Nurse consultation, where there were considerably more registrants. However, they would welcome more. 

The CPHVA would certainly encourage you to respond individually, even if you have contributed to our response in some way. The closing date is 2 August and the consultation can be found here.

Image Credit | Shutterstock