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Nursing Workforce Standards

Nursing Workforce Standards Checklists

The Nursing Workforce Standards Checklists are designed to support the nursing workforce in applying the RCN’s 2021 Nursing Workforce Standards (the Standards).

The Standards are a blueprint for tackling nursing staff shortages across the UK. They support the nursing workforce to be safe and effective. They set the standards for high quality, evidence-based patient/service user care in all health and care settings in the UK, working with each nation’s legislation. Evidence and experience have shown that having the right number of nursing staff, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time improves health outcomes, the quality of care delivered, and patient/service user safety.

There are 14 Nursing Workforce Standards with three key themes

  1. Responsibility and Accountability (Standards 1, 2, 3 & 4)
  2. Clinical Leadership and Safety (Standards 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10)
  3. Health, Safety and Wellbeing (Standards 11-14).

The nursing workforce

  • Registered Nurses: RNs (from Newly Registered Nurse to the most senior nurse such as the Chief Nurse/Director of Nursing/Executive Nurse Director). 
  • Nursing Support Workers: NSWs [Nursing Associates (NAs), Trainee Nurse Associates (TNAs), Assistant Practitioners, Health Care Assistants (HCAs), Clinical Support Workers (CSWs), Carers and Health Care Support Workers]. 
  • Student Nurses: (BSc Students, MSc students, PGDip Students and Nursing Apprenticeship Students). 
  • Registered Nurse Lead: the individual leading and supporting a team and/or service such as: Team Leaders, Managers, Charge Nurses, Sisters, Matrons, Senior Nurses, and Directors/ Associate Directors of Nursing. 

Examples of how to utilise the checklists

  • As a self-evaluation tool to identify training, learning and development needs by any member of the nursing workforce.
  • To standardise what is offered to nursing workforce and departments by a manager, matron, or team leader.
  • To give floor-to-board assurance that support interventions are available and accessible to all the nursing workforce by a nurse director.
  • As a tool for all nurses, nursing support workers and students to use as a benchmark for their workplace. Please answer Yes, No or N/A as you explore the Standards Checklist.

How to complete the checklist

  • Yes: continue this practice, celebrate, and share the successes.
  • No: please have a conversation with your line manager to seek their support in turning the no answers to yes answers. Your local RCN Representative and RCN staff can support you if you are having challenges.
  • N/A: no actions. it may be applicable later if you change roles or workplace.
  • Evidence: please provide examples of how you are or are not meeting the Standards. Legislation such as the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 may be applicable in your workplace if covered under section 25B and 25C. Please indicate this in the evidence section.