Essential Skills Cluster Implementation Sheffield Hallam University
NMC standards for education The NMC has a duty under the Nursing and Midwifery Order (2001) to set standards for education programmes and to keep these under review. For pre-registration nursing these are set out within the Standards of proficiency for pre- registration Nursing Education (NMC 2004) (Nursing Proficiencies)
ESC Development The ESCs have been developed as an outcome of the Review (1) of fitness for practice at the point of registration They aim to provide clarity of expectation for the public and profession alike They seek to address some of the concerns about skill deficits arising from the Review.
NMC Skills Clusters The NMC Essential Skills Clusters (ESCs) are intended to be used in support of the achievement of the Nursing Proficiencies. The ESCs can be used from the date published but must be incorporated into programmes for all new students commencing from September 2008.
Generic skills applicable to all branches of nursing The ESCs are UK-wide generic skills statements set out under broad headings that identify skills to support the achievement of the existing NMC outcomes for entry to the branch, and the proficiencies for entry to the register. They have also been identified as generic and applicable to all four branches of nursing.
ESCs cover the following as broad headings: care and compassion, communication (CCC) organisational aspects of care, (OAC) infection prevention and control, (IPC) nutrition and fluid maintenance, (NFM) and medicines management. (MM) Under these headings their are 42 essential skills areas identified, which are further sub- divided into CFP and branch skills.
How have we used them? It was left for us as programme providers to determine how these are assessed. This group felt that the cluster statement descriptors, with some minor modifications to enhance clarity, would be suitable to directly assess within the Practice Assessment Document, throughout the whole programme. We were therefore left with 3 options as as to how we could use them
Option 1: three documents a)Keep the current Practice Assessment Document (PAD) b)Add another document that includes all ESC descriptors. This will have to be summatively assessed c)Keep the current Skills Passport.
Option 2: three documents a)Keep the current Practice Assessment Document which assesses all outcomes for entry to branch b)Create a new Skills document that merges the ESC skills with the current Skills Passport – many current skills Passport items replicate ESCs - this will have to be summatively assessed and include at least 42 + items c)Keep trimmed down Skills Passport - branch specific? Summative/formative?
Option 3: two documents a)Use the ESC descriptors verbatim as assessment criteria in the current formulation of the PAD. b)Keep a trimmed Skills Passport that reflects locally identified additional skills and remove any overlap between these and the ESCs This is the option which was agreed, by placement leads from the stake holders and placement partners, to be the one we should adopt.
Option 3 and Mapping All ESC statements have been mapped by the NMC to the proficiencies as well as the Code of Conduct. In addition we have mapped the existing professional behaviour statements to the ESCs. Achievement of skills in the formative skills passport may support mentor's summative assessment using the ESCs.
Summary The nursing Essential Skills Clusters (ESCs) identify skills that: are under broad headings fundamental to best practice relate to all nursing fields of practice reflect patient expectation of new qualifiers in specific areas complement existing NMC outcomes and proficiencies are required to be incorporated within all pre-registration nursing programmes form Sept 2008 require specific testing require to be demonstrated before entry to the branch programme and prior to registration will be subject to ongoing monitoring and review
References Statutory Instrument 2002 No. 253 The Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001. (1)Consultation relating to the Review of fitness for practice at the point of registration can be viewed at www.nmc-uk.org by selecting ‘Consultations’ and then ‘Past Consultations’. Standards of proficiency for pre-registration Nursing Education (NMC 2004)