The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has published draft Standards for six specialisms in community nursing and these are now available for public consultation.

The Field Specific Standards are designed to underpin and support Specialist Practitioner Qualifications offered by Higher Education Institutions in the UK. The six draft Standards published this week apply to education and practice in:

  • Adult Social Care Nursing
  • Community Children’s Nursing
  • Community Mental Health Nursing
  • District Nursing
  • General Practice Nursing
  • Inclusion Health Nursing

The Standards are available for consultation until 7th March 2023. The QNI particularly invites the views of those currently commissioning or delivering Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ) programmes, and those considering introducing new programmes.

The drafts, background information and consultation link can be found here. 

The documents also outline the endorsement process for Higher Education Institutions wishing to formally adopt the QNI Standards.

The QNI worked with representatives from health and social care organisations from the four countries of the UK to develop the Standards. These representatives include national organisations, academics, managers, clinicians, front line staff, and service users/patients/experts by experience/carers/families. A further three Field Specific Standards will be published later this year.

Notes to Editors

The six QNI Field Specific Standards for Specialist Practitioner Qualifications (SPQ) have been built on the NMC SPQ standards (NMC 2022). They are mapped to the four Pillars of Advanced Practice (NHS 2007, NHS 2017), demonstrating the advanced level of practice at which SPQ nurses are working. A mapping document is included in the consultation, with the NMC SPQ standards mapped to each Field Specific Standard.

The four pillars of advanced practice as described by the Health Education England Advanced Practice Toolkit Framework are:

  • Domain 1 – Clinical Care
  • Domain 2 – Leadership and Management
  • Domain 3 – Education and Assessing Learning
  • Domain 4 – Evidence, Research and Development.

The International Council of Nurses defines an advanced nurse practitioner as a registered nurse with the expert knowledge, complex decision-making skills, and clinical competencies necessary for expanded practice.

Any nurse who has completed a SPQ programme that has been mapped to the QNI field specific standards will reflect the level of advanced practice described below.

Nurses working as a Specialist Practitioner in one of the nine fields of Specialist Practice will work independently and autonomously in situations that are complex and challenging. They will follow an individual’s* trajectory in dealing with co-morbidities, co-occurring conditions and medicines management promoting a person-centred approach using advanced clinical decision-making skills based on a holistic bio-psychosocial perspective. They will role model leadership values and behaviours within teams of regulated and non-regulated staff and work with senior leaders of organisations to implement policy, working within legislative boundaries in their workplace. They demonstrate an in depth understanding of operational and financial issues within their organisation and acknowledge how this may impact on advanced clinical assessment of individuals*. They are highly skilled in complex risk assessments, risk formulations and risk management and will be comfortable advocating for people in their care and the services they work in and with. They are innovators in practice promoting evidence-based practice, innovation, and creativity to improve the quality of outcomes for the individual* they are caring for.

*Patient, child, resident, client, carer, family members.


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