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Up-skilling professional groups to support the needs of the older adult population

In 2016 the Nurse and Allied Health Professional Council or the British Geriatrics Society was asked to engage with the Society’s Education and Training Committee (ETC) with a view to expanding the Committee’s role to improve education in older people’s health care among Nurses and Allied Health Professionals. It has been a pleasure to be the first such representative into the Committee.

I arrive to the group with a background in working with Health Education England (and predecessor organisations) in development programmes for aspiring Consultant and Advanced Practitioners in the fields of Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and, most recently, in Frailty. It is with interest and enthusiasm that nurses and AHPs note the growing UK appetite to enhance skill set in order to better serve the older population and to thus to also extend clinical career options.

In terms of the development of roles pertaining to older people, the ETC are currently focusing on two key areas with a view to offer expertise, encourage focus on older people and to influence parity across the UK.

1. Advanced Clinical Practice
The ETC work-plan defines this workstream as: To be led by Dr Grout with four nation representation. Timeframe: ETC to be actively engaged with HEE and the ANP curriculum to be further developed by the end of 2017. An outcome plan for 2018 also to be developed by the end of this year.

The Health Education England (2017) definition: Advanced Clinical Practice is delivered by experienced registered healthcare practitioners. It is a level of practice characterised by a high level of autonomy and complex decision-making. This is underpinned by a master’s level award or equivalent that encompasses the four pillars of clinical practice, management and leadership, education and research, with demonstration of core and area specific clinical competence.

Advanced Clinical Practice embodies the ability to manage complete clinical care in partnership with patients/carers. It includes the analysis and synthesis of complex problems across a range of settings, enabling innovative solutions to enhance patient experience and improve outcomes.

Current BGS ETC focus is around engaging with the four nations to explore the current position regarding curriculum development for Advanced Clinical Practitioners who work with Older People. I would be pleased to hear from any reader who can advise on the agenda in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. We are also contemplating the possible inclusion of participation in the Diploma of Geriatric Medicine (DGM) qualification possible assurance of expertise. Thirteen members of the Nurse and AHP Council, who each practice at advanced level, volunteered to participate in a pilot against blinded DGM questions. The average mark was 78 per cent. Discussions are now taking place with the examining body about the potential for DGM to be opened up to professions other than medicine.

2. The Apprenticeship agenda
NHS Trusts within Wessex have expressed an interest in developing curricula for Apprenticeships in Frailty. The BGS were approached to engage in a potential pilot. A Wessex meeting has been set up and I will represent the ETC in order to consider how the BGS can best lend its expertise.

Gwyn Grout
Independent Consultant Nurse
Twitter: @gbg1954

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