The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the regulatory body for nurses and midwives, published new standards, applicable across the UK, to support the learning and assessment of nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses undertaking NMC regulated pre and post-registration programmes (NMC, 2008). The standards were developed in response to concerns that registrants were failing to fail students whose practice was below the required standard (Duffy, 2006).
To download a copy of the NMC Standards to Support Learning and assessment in Practice (2008) please click here.
In 2009, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) provided funding to enable each HSC Trust to implemnet teams to support the learning and assessment of students requiring practice experience, ensuring that the NMC standards are met. Each of these teams comprises one Practice Education Co-ordinator (PEC) as the team leader and a number of Practice Education Facilitators (PEF). The PEC and PEF teams, which include a Band 3 Administrator, were recruited and established during the period of May to December 2009.
In advance of taking forward the work to develop a regional framework to evaluate the impact of the implementation of the infrastructure, significant preparatory work was undertaken by a small working group set up by the NIPEC. The purpose was to develop a set of benchmarks, based on NMC requirements (NMC, 2008), which would identify the minimum standards that the PEC's and PEF's are required to meet. These benchmarks are presented within seven areas comprising:
- Profile for Practice Placement
- Local Register of Mentors and Practice Teachers
- Practice placement audit
- Allocation of Students
- Monitoring the quality of practice experience
- Managing students' practice experiences
- Support mentors and practice teachers
NIPEC is currently leading a regional project on behalf of the HSC Trusts to develop an evaluation framework to demonstrate the effectiveness of the infrastructure to support learning and assessment in practice.
The Objectives of the Project are to:
- Develop an evaluation strategy that will as a minimum provide processes to demonstrate that NMC standards for Learning and Assessment in Practice (NMC, 2008) are met
- Develop tools to gather the data to facilitate on-going evaluation as identified within the evaluation strategy
- Recommend system for recording required data
- Recommend processe for the analysis of the required data
- Recommend processes for the reporting of the required data
Throughout the project, NIPEC will work in close collaboration with the five HSC Trusts and other key stakeholders, including the Higher Education Institutions in Northern Ireland who provide NMC reulated education programmes.