I didn't see a GP, but one of the nurses. She was an Advanced Practitioner, highly skilled, knowledgeable and possessed great interpersonal skills. She was able to make a diagnosis, sort out the poly-pharmaceutical complexities in prescribing, empathised over the pain in my face, ear and neck and provided advice to avoid any further fainting episodes. I was impressed. For me, she also epitomised what the qualified nurse of the future might look like, someone who I believe is also likely to be able to work in this way.
The first headline is that the NMC as a body were very open to change. It was acknowledged that the current standards used to construct and approve pre-registration nursing programmes were in need of a review. However, it was also acknowledged that perhaps we could learn from the work of others in undertaking such a review – and one such example we had been asked to look at in preparation for the meeting was the standards and outcome documents published in July this year relating to the ‘Tomorrows Doctors’ initiative. These documents make good reading for educators! You can see for yourself here (standards; and outcomes).
The second headline was that the group shouldn't concern itself with process (how future programmes might be delivered is open to all suggestions), or the current limitations arising from developing an overcrowded curriculum around four fields of socially constructed professional practice. Arguably these fields of practice have increasingly little relevance to the exponential pace of change seen in the way health care services are being delivered. The focus for the group was firmly on the outcomes of educational programmes aimed at delivering the nurse of the future.
Of course there was much more, but you will have to wait until the report presents this and other consultation discussions to see the full picture. From an educators perspective there were also some thoughts to ponder on. One that resonated was that we should perhaps stop treating our students as if they were our patients, failing to fail is not a helpful approach, but addressing this phenomena needs to be matched by a review of the payment by attendance and progression system we have in England (not the case in Northern Ireland). Likewise while the bio-science elements of future programmes needs to be reviewed this should be with the aim to make the nurses knowledge deeper not broader.