RCN calls for crackdown on advertising of nursing jobs for people without proper qualifications

The Royal College of Nursing is calling for a crackdown on the advertising of nursing jobs for people who do not have the proper qualifications to fill them.

The RCN said it is aware of instances where employers have opened nurse vacancies to people without registered nursing qualifications, or from different professional backgrounds, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

It added that adverts often contain caveats which say people who get the jobs need to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC).

However, one advert the union found for a matron post was open to “registered professional clinician with demonstrable evidence of working at senior level”, but did not say it required NMC registration.

Other adverts it came across included a different matron role in acute medicine open to people without nursing qualifications, and a post where a registered nurse and registered nursing associate were seen as interchangeable, despite different education requirements needed for the two roles.

The RCN’s acting general secretary, Pat Cullen, said: “Filling registered nurse vacancies with those who are not registered nurses is not filling those vacancies.

“Acting in this way not only leads to vacancies elsewhere, but also carries a risk to patient care.

“The very fact that employers are needing to fill nursing posts in this way should set alarm bells ringing with ministers that cannot be ignored, and spur them into a proper investment in the long-term future of the nursing workforce.”

NHS England chief nursing officer Ruth May said: “Patient care has always been delivered by teams of professionals working together, and with the emergence of more integrated roles we expect providers to examine the expertise and skills required from a range of professional backgrounds, which ultimately is better for patients.”

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