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RCN factsheet

Specialist nursing in the UK

15 December 2014
Updated December 2014. The RCN has received a lot of international interest with regards to specialist nursing in the UK. This factsheet provides a brief overview on specialist nursing roles, specifically addressing issues like regulation, education, scope of practice and evidence that demonstrates the value of specialist nurses.
To support specialist nurses to continue delivering high quality, patient-centred and cost-effective care, the RCN has been calling for commissioners, health care providers and governments to commit to the following:
  • all patients with long term conditions should have access to a specialist nurse 
  • specialist nurses should be allowed time to care and accomplish the vital aspects of their role
  • increasing funding for specialist nursing roles and supporting other providers and commissioners to understand the wider cost implications and health improvements to be gained in continued investments in both the medium to long-term.
During times of austerity, specialist nursing roles are often down banded or not fully utilised in an attempt to temporarily save money, however in the long-term this can create more problems within the health and social care system and have serious implications on patient care.

If you have any comments or wish to contribute further, please email policy.international@rcn.org.uk