With the current pressures and changes (shortage of staff, increasingly complex patients, lack of beds) occurring in the NHS there is an increased need to think of different ways of working, whilst still ensuring high standards of patient care. Enhanced and advanced roles (for both health care assistants and nurses) are a way of bridging the inevitable gap in clinical care.
There is a significant amount of confusion and disparity in relation to advanced practice and due to this, organisations may struggle to assess their workforce need and not appoint the correct role. This can also lead to organisations and managers finding it difficult to understand, utilise and support advanced practice. This can be very frustrating for advanced role practitioners as it can limit their practice and leave them feeling undervalued.
There is a significant amount of confusion and disparity in relation to advanced practice and due to this, organisations may struggle to assess their workforce need and not appoint the correct role
I would like help to create an online tool which will provide clarity about advanced practice to help provide guidance for both health care assistants and nurses (for progression) and organisations (with workforce review) to optimise the workforce. The online tool would help support organisations to clearly assess their departmental deficits and ascertain what the most appropriate role (or roles) would be to meet service needs. This would include an assessment of departmental and skill requirements linked with the patient pathway (which I have used within my trust). This will be linked with a skills comparison document outlining current advanced roles to suggest the most suitable role required. Following this assessment, the website would have all the advanced roles explained, including potential variations in title, the scope of practice, and educational requirements including necessary clinical support and learning opportunities.
I have created a generic competency document that can be used in any department for all advanced roles (it has generic and specialist aspects) to ensure some guidance and standardisation for trainee advanced practitioners.
Other recommendations for trusts include an organisational database of advanced roles, example job descriptions, recommendations for continuing professional development and advice for line managers of people with advanced roles. Health care assistants or nurses can use the site to look at potential roles that they may be interested in and have a clear idea of each role and the expectations, level of autonomy and educational requirements. This will provide clarity for progression for career development.
The online tool would help support organisations to clearly assess their departmental deficits and ascertain what the most appropriate role (or roles) would be to meet service needs
The site can also link into national requirements for advanced practice such as the RCN credentialing meaning it becomes a practical tool for the benefit of practitioners. Ultimately, the tool will help get the right person with the correct skills in place for organisations, whilst helping staff to reach their potential should they wish to progress to advanced practice.
Aims and objectives
The aim is to link with RCN career framework, which will be available online soon.
Activity to date
I have been working as part of the team for career frameworks at the RCN, undertaking scoping and research and agreeing an overall outline for the online tool with a number of stakeholders including Health Education England (HEE).
Outputs to date
Liaising with RCN forums regarding speciality specific practice and differing roles. Also the development of digital infographic.
Reflections on impact
This project is still a work in progress so it is difficult to ascertain the overall impact but it is hoped that it will support the nursing profession by identifying all the various roles available and how to achieve a position in a required role.
The way forward
The initiative can be used in all areas of nursing once it has been developed.