Standards of proficiency for community nursing specialist practice qualifications (SPQ)

These standards represent the skills, knowledge and attributes all community nurses with specialist community qualifications (SPQs) must demonstrate.

Our new standards of proficiency for community nursing SPQs were approved by our Council at its meeting on 26 May 2022.

They have been updated to take into account the changes taking place in society and health care, and the implications these changes have for nurses with a community nursing SPQ.

Structure of these standards

The approach to the standards of proficiency aligns with that of Future nurse, our new standards for registered nurses, published in 2018.  The standards are organised under seven headings, and were designed to ensure that across all fields of nursing practice, registered nurses are able to meet the person-centred, holistic care needs of the people they encounter in their practice who may have a range of mental, physical, cognitive, behavioural, social or spiritual needs. This ambition also applies to specialist community nursing to meet the diverse needs of people of all ages, in their home, in settings close to home and in the community.

Professionals on our register already possess the knowledge and skills required to be registered as a nurse. These specialist community nursing standards of proficiency state the additional knowledge and skills required for community nursing specialist practice qualifications.

These proficiencies will provide new post-graduate community nurses with SPQs entering the profession with the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need when they record their qualification on the register. Community nurses with a SPQ will build on these proficiencies as they gain experience and fulfil their professional responsibility. They will demonstrate their commitment to develop as a specialist community practitioner and to build a career pathway, engaging in ongoing education and professional development opportunities necessary for revalidation

Using the standards

It's important to read these standards along with the other parts of Realising professionalism: Standards for education and training:

Reading these standards together provides a complete picture of:

  • what community nurses with SPQs need to know and be able to do, by the time they register with us
  • what approved education institutions (AEIs) and their practice learning partners must provide when delivering education and training courses

Using our standards to plan your CPD

Our standards of proficiency can be a key resource when planning CPD as part of your revalidation.

You can use our standards in your revalidation in the following ways:

  • Use them to consider what knowledge and skills you need to practise safely.
  • Use them to reflect on your practice and identify any further learning.
  • Use them to help you plan your CPD as part of revalidation.

Post registration workshops

This session was held in October 2023 and was aimed at SCPHN and SPQ educators, and practice placement partners, to help their understanding of our post-registration programmes. It covered:

  • Partnership working with members of the public and students in design, development and delivery of programmes
  • Answering some key frequently asked questions

Workshop recording

To help education institutions with the implementation of these new standards we held a workshop in June 2023 covering:

  • what must be considered when developing new curricula and who must be involved
  • our QA framework and process for seeking and obtaining new post-registration programmes approval

You can download the slides below and some supporting information.

Workshop slides

How these standards were developed

Since 2019 we have been developing these standards with input from stakeholders across the UK.

We put our proposals to consultation in spring 2019 and were pleased to have more than 2,363 responses.

We listened closely to the feedback we received, and made several positive changes to the standards as a result. 

Find out more about how these standards were developed and co-produced. 

Useful resources

SCPHN and SPQ webinar FAQs

SPQ webinar recording, 31 October 2022

SPQ webinar slides, 31 October 2022