I’ve been a qualified general nurse since 1995. My present job is consultant nurse in ophthalmology. I’ve always worked in ophthalmology, so I’ve progressed within the same clinical setting.
Make best use of the information you have
The database the NMC holds as a professional regulator, is very valuable and it’s right to think of ways to make better use of it.
I’d like to see if the NMC can help me connect with other professionals. I meet colleagues at the same level and in the same clinical area through networking or training events, but we should have a dashboard that allows us to see consultant nurses in ophthalmology, for example, at the click of a button. It could be the basis of a forum for professionals to share knowledge and help to standardise best practise.
Take a more dynamic approach to standard setting and guidance
Guidance is a great tool to help practitioners but it could be even more powerful, so it’s an important area to focus on. For example, it can be difficult to meet the service demand at a local level without being able to move nursing practitioners into different care settings within a hospital.
The system needs to acknowledge that many nurses have a wide range of skills and they shouldn’t be considered to be stepping outside their job description when they help to meet demand in a different clinical area. There should be a set standard for each type of practitioner, but there also needs to be a dynamic approach to guidance that allows the workforce to flex according to local service needs.
Collaborate more closely with regulatory partners
In my clinical area, the roles of nurses, optometrists and orthoptists can overlap, so it adds value if we work very closely with organisations like the General Optometrist Society (GOS) and the British and Irish Orthoptist Society (BIOS).
Similarly the NMC needs to think how it can work more closely with organisations like the General Medical Council (GMC). Nowadays, nurses are performing more extended roles, covering areas that used to sit within a doctor’s role. So the NMC should be working with the GMC very closely to set standards, training, competencies and guidelines.
Growing public confidence in our work
When people come into hospital, they often expect to see a nurse but that’s not always the case. For example if they come to the eye clinic they’re not going to see a nurse, they’re going to see a technician and other AHPs (Allied Health Professionals). So we have to manage the public’s expectations and inform them that the workforce is changing, so when you go into hospital it’s not always a nurse who’ll see you. And if the NMC is going to help do that then it first needs to gain people’s trust and confidence, so it’s definitely an important area to focus on.
New ways to keep in touch
It’s very important for the NMC to build its relationship with the professionals. It needs to keep in touch. We’re getting more communication than we used to, especially with the introduction of revalidation, so things have improved but there’s still more to do.
The NMC needs to understand the views of people on the frontline, so it’s a two-way process and that’s why it’s great that the NMC is working with us to co-produce its strategy.
Going forward, we need the NMC to do more, such as providing free training opportunities for nurses of all specialities, and holding more town hall type meetings for professionals to meet the people at the NMC and understand what the organisation is doing to support us.