The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has joined with other bodies in drawing up a set of principles for further professional development.
At the core of the project is the understanding that those who work in health and social care settings are operating in a complex environment that brings many challenges and is subject to significant and ongoing change.
In light of this, the RCN and its partners, among other professional bodies and unions, want a culture of continuous improvement to be developed, something both individual employees and employers can contribute to. The ultimate aim of this is to help develop the skills of the health service workforce and improve patient outcomes as a result.
This has led to the establishment of five principles of lifelong learning that the RCN believes should be put in place.
The first is that this should be each person's responsibility, but learners should also be supported by employers. It should also be of benefit to service users, improve the standard of service delivery, be "balanced and relevant" to each individual's area of practice, and finally that it should be recorded and measured to show the impact on each individual's area of practice.
RCN Professional Lead for Education Gill Coverdale said: “Nurses are at the forefront of innovation, and nursing and healthcare staff should all have the chance to further their careers and develop groundbreaking care models and treatments for the benefit of patients.
“By setting out what staff and employers should expect, these principles will help develop the knowledge, skills and competencies that lead to an effective workforce prepared to deliver high quality care."
She added that the timing of the establishment of these principles is "important", as continuing professional development budgets have been reduced by 80 per cent in the past two years. Ms Coverdale urged the government to invest more to help staff meet rising demand and changing patient needs.
Written by James Puckle
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