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First of its kind nurse training programme set up at hospital

PUBLISHED: 12:40 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:40 02 January 2018

Kate Davies, skin cancer specialist nurse at NNUH. Photo: NNUH

Kate Davies, skin cancer specialist nurse at NNUH. Photo: NNUH

NNUH

Nurse training and career progression have taken a step forward with a pilot scheme for the first UK nurse registrar in dermatology appointed at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

The project is designed to retain highly-specialised nurses, keeping them in the frontline of clinical services, research and service development.

There is no current succession planning for nurse consultants and this programme is designed to address this deficit.

Kate Davies, skin cancer specialist nurse, started a three-year programme to qualify as a nurse consultant in dermatology which will involve completing an advanced practitioner MSc postgraduate qualification with the University of East Anglia (UEA), with a focus on service development within dermatology. Ms Davies said: “I am delighted to be part of this innovative scheme and feel privileged to be developing a new career path for highly skilled registered nurses.

“The remit is a mixture of clinical activity which includes advanced skin surgery and skin cancer diagnostics with the other role aspects focusing on clinical research, service development and education both locally and on a national platform.”

MS Davies is from Norfolk and qualified at the UEA with a BSc in Nursing in 2001.

Before joining the NNUH dermatology department in 2015 as a specialist skin cancer nurse she worked in London for various trusts including King’s College University Hospital. The is the first time that a formal nurse registrar programme has been funded and supported in dermatology and bucks the trend for recruiting straight into a nurse consultant role.

Carrie Wingfield, consultant nurse in dermatology, said: “Becoming a nurse consultant is considered the pinnacle of a professional nursing career, it can be a difficult transition and requires excellent in-house support from both clinicians and nurses. Succession planning is important to allow integration into the team and to build a track record of clinical excellence and expertise.

“The nurse registrar role is not entirely a new concept but has mostly been seen in emergency rooms in the USA. The role is primarily aimed at providing a structured professional route to encourage the retention of nurses already highly trained but to support them to the next level of their career”.

Dr Anne-Marie Skellett, dermatology consultant and clinical director, added: “This new programme is designed to address the gaps in the clinical workforce and make the most of our talented nurses, as part of a multi-disciplinary team providing the best care for our patients. We have already proven the success of the nurse consultant role within our department and fully support in ongoing development of this important nursing role.”

With an ageing population and increased prevalence for skin cancer, referrals are increasing by 8pc a year, combined with the national shortage of consultant dermatologists dermatology departments need to look at other ways of building capacity and developing clinical teams to cope with demand. Details of the nurse registrar programme will be published and shared with NHS organisations once it has been fully evaluated to encourage other UK dermatology departments to support similar succession and retention planning for the nurse consultant role.

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