Setting standards for specialist practice
Crystal Oldman explains how the QNI will set new standards for specialist fields of practice in the community
On May 25 2022, at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) meeting in Derry, Northern Ireland, the Council members approved the standards for the Community Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) and the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing qualification (SCPHN). This followed almost 3 years of research, engagement and consultation with the profession and the public on the much needed revision of the existing standards – and in particular the SPQ standards which were over two decades old.
The Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) and several other organisations, including the Royal College of Nursing, campaigned for the SPQ standards to include field-specific standards, following the structure of the SCPHN standards, which comprise core and field-specific standards (for health visiting, school nursing, occupational health nursing and public health nursing). The campaign was partially successful; the SPQ has annotations for the intended field of practice, but these are not supported by NMC field-specific standards.
So, the QNI will be setting the standards for the specialist fields of practice in the community, to complement the NMC core SPQ standards and to provide a national benchmark for universities and service providers, against which to judge the suitability of the content and assessment of the SPQ programme at a local level.
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