Publication - Corporate report

Transforming Nursing, Midwifery And Health Profession (NMaHP) roles: review of Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner roles within Scotland

Published: 5 Aug 2021
Chief Nursing Officer Directorate
Part of:
Health and social care

The report of the Short Life Working Group (SLWG) set up by the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) to review the role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist as part of the Transforming Roles Programme, and improve national consistency in Scotland for Clinical Nurse Specialist and Specialist Practitioner roles.

Transforming Nursing, Midwifery And Health Profession (NMaHP) roles: review of Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner roles within Scotland
4. Education and Training

4. Education and Training

Key principles have been identified for education provision for generalist and specialist roles at Levels 6 and 7, based on the NES development pathway from career practitioner- to consultant-level practice (Annex F) that is aligned to the NES NMAHP Development Framework.[12] These are:

a) Education and training should include all four pillars of practice with an emphasis on clinical practice.

b) A minimum of a postgraduate diploma is recommended for specialist practice at Level 7 (Advanced Practice). A graduate certificate (honours degree level) is currently accepted as the minimum qualification for specialist practice at Level 6, however, a postgraduate certificate is recommended.

It is acknowledged that many post-registration modules for Clinical Nurse Specialists are currently at SCQF level 9 (ordinary degree) and implications of this proposed change will require further consideration moving forward.

c) A national education commissioning approach will ensure quality and consistency.

d) Education programmes for Clinical Nurse Specialists at Level 6 and Advanced Clinical Nurse Specialists at Level 7 may be delivered through Higher Education Institutions, or in conjunction with local NHS Boards, who may provide some modules. They should lead to a nationally recognised (higher education) exit award.

Programmes should comprise:

  • generic content to meet nationally agreed core competencies;
  • specialist content for competencies specific to specialism;
  • work-based learning in speciality with appropriate supervision, e.g. a training post;
  • specific content delivered through learning contracts (or similar), where participants have a niche or specific requirement;
  • preparation and support for supervisors and assessors for their role;
  • digital learning as appropriate to maximise access and flexibility;
  • a range of methods for learning, teaching and assessment e.g. master classes, action learning sets, Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) and Workplace-Based Assessments; protected learning time in practice.

e) A portfolio of evidence demonstrating achievement of the core and specialist competencies should be maintained by those already within the roles who may not currently have the academic qualification to recognise prior learning. This is important to ensure that current Clinical Nurse Specialists are not disadvantaged and that prior learning and clinical experience is taken into consideration when mapping roles across to the NES NMAHP Development Framework and specialist frameworks. These competencies should be assessed by a practitioner with expert knowledge and skill in the speciality. The NES Professional Portfolio[13] available through TURAS is recommended.

f) Where available and appropriate, national standards validated by Professional Bodies/Associations/Faculties may be used.

g) Expertise in niche areas should be used to develop specialist knowledge and skills.

h) The development of the education system should allow for consistency, sustainability and flexibility in provision, and be responsive to changes in demand.

i) Advanced Clinical Nurse Specialists should be included within the Advanced Practice Academies to facilitate access to Continuing Professional Development (CPD).