Unregistered ‘nurse’ panjandrums endanger patients

By September 6, 2017February 18th, 2021No Comments

Scandal as thousands of UNQUALIFIED staff in hospitals are found to be working as nurses leaving patients at risk, experts warn

Thousands of nursing jobs have titles with no link to education or experience

Staff labelled nurses despite no registration with Nursing and Midwifery Council

A study found 595 different specialist job titles in questionable use

Calls for the title of nurse to be protected in the UK, as it is in the USA and Australia

By Claudia Tanner For Mailonline

6 September 2017

Unqualified care assistants are practising in the NHS with job titles that describe them as nurses with advanced skills, experts have revealed.

A new study found that thousands of nursing jobs across the health service have titles that have little or no link to a nurse’s education or level of experience.

Researchers said people are also working with these titles without being registered with the regulator, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

In many cases NHS trusts, or staff themselves, create their own job titles.

The study author, Professor Alison Leary, from the London South Bank University, warned the practice could undermine public confidence in the profession and also puts patients at risk.

She said: ‘What the results of this study clearly show is that advanced nursing practice needs regulation to help protect the public.

‘Lack of consistency has implications for the wider perception of advanced specialist practice in the worldwide community and the workforce more generally.

‘If the current system is allowed to continue unhindered, then there is a real risk posed to patient safety.

‘Public trust also risks being undermined by NHS trusts applying professional job titles to low-paid carers who are not fully qualified nurses.

‘In some instances, there is evidence that these post-holders are being expected to treat members of the public and are missing diagnoses altogether, which could lead to patients becoming seriously ill or worse.’

No formal qualifications

The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, examined 17,960 staff employed in specialist nursing jobs in the NHS over a 10-year period to 2016.

It found 595 different specialist job titles in questionable use.

Researchers said the International Council of Nurses recommends that advanced level nurses who often prescribe drugs and manage a caseload have at least a Masters degree level qualification.

But of 8,064 posts examined by the team, for which educational data was also obtained, 323 (4 per cent) were unregistered nursing support workers with titles such as ‘advanced nurse practitioner’ and ‘specialist nurse’, working in areas such as cancer and emergency care.

This is despite these staff having no formal first level nursing qualification registered with the NMC.

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