A policy discussion paper
The RCN current position on the contribution of assistant practitioners to nursing is not one of opposition, and the RCN recognises the value of this role for patients and the nursing team. However we would become concerned if the assistant practitioner role were to be introduced as a means of reducing the costs of the registered nursing workforce (rather than to enhance patient care and the patient experience, and/or improve the career development of the support workforce). The key issues for debate concern:
These must be debated by the nursing profession as a matter of urgency in order to influence the direction of travel. RCN Congress 2009 provides one opportunity for this to take place.