Post-registration standards steering group

Creation of an expert steering group to review how post-registration education and development continues to evolve

Nursing and midwifery practice is different today than from a decade ago and we know it will evolve further in the next ten years. Since 2016, we have been reviewing our education standards in order to ensure that they are fit for purpose and to ensure that nurses, midwives and nursing associates are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to deliver high quality and safe care now and in the future.

As part of this education programme of change we are now starting to explore our post-registration standards*. It is clear from our recent consultation on our new strategy, Shaping the future, that our stakeholders agree this review is a priority.

To help us achieve this, we have created an expert steering group to review how post-registration education and development continues to evolve.

The steering group is chaired by Dr David Foster OBE and includes a range of key stakeholders from across the four countries of the UK, including representatives from the four Chief Nursing Officer offices, subject matter experts and representatives of professional bodies.

The group met for the first time on Wednesday 20 November 2019. It carefully considered the perspectives of all four countries, and had a productive exploratory discussion of the current standards and how we might move forward.

Dr David Foster OBE said:

“I was delighted with the wide-ranging and thoughtful discussion at our first meeting. I am also very grateful that so many of our key partners came from across the UK to make it a success. This is a very important area of work and I look forward to our collaboration in progressing the review.”

Professor Geraldine Walters CBE, Director of Education and Standards at the NMC, said:

“I’m really pleased that we’re considering this particularly complex part of our standards and it’s great that so many experts have joined us to help review them. I look forward to working together to ensure they are fit for purpose, now and in the future.”

*Post-registration standards here refers to our Specialist Community and Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) and Specialist Practice Qualifications (SPQs).

Registered nurses and midwives can join the SCPHN part of our register by taking an approved SCPHN programme and by achieving our SCPHN standards of proficiency. These standards of proficiency define the principles of practising as a specialist community public health nurse. The context in which someone practises using these principles defines their scope of professional practice. The scope of practice may be within a specific area of practice. Some areas of practice are identified on our register, including health visitors (HV), school nurses (SN), occupational health nurses (OHN) and family nurses (FHN). This indicates that the programme someone completed focused on a particular area of practice. Other people will be on the register as SCPHNs without a field of practice identified – they may work in more generic public health roles. SCPHNs must meet the standards of proficiency throughout their careers to remain on our register as a SCPHN. They must also practise in line with the most recent version of the Code.

Specialist Practice Qualifications (SPQs) are optional recordable qualifications that meet our standards but do not lead to admission to a part of the register or any protected title and function. They indicate a qualification or competence in a particular field or level of practice. By legislation, we are not currently required to set these standards, although we currently do. We have set up the expert post-registration steering group to review these standards and advise our Council on the future direction of travel. There are currently 9 different SPQs: district nursing, general practice nursing, adult nursing, children’s nursing, community children’s nursing, learning disabilities nursing, community learning disabilities nursing, mental health nursing, and community mental health nursing.


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