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New guidance on medicines management for nursing associates published

20 February 2018

Advisory guidance setting out expectations for nursing associates who administer medicines to patients has been launched by Health Education England (HEE) today.

The guidance is aimed at employers, trainers, supervisors, training providers, nursing associates and patients and sets out best practice for employers delivering medicines management training.

It sets out seven key recommendations, these include:

  • Employing organisations should ensure adequate levels of supervision are in place to support trainee Nursing Associates in the education and training of medicines management, and these supervision levels should be clearly stated in any local medicines policy
  • The Nursing and Midwifery Council should ensure the following core routes of medicines administration are included by name in the Nursing Associate standards of proficiency:
    • Oral
    • Topical
    • Subcutaneous
    • Per rectum
    • Inhaled
  • Employing organisations should take appropriate steps to assure themselves and the CQC that practicing Nursing Associates have the qualifications, competence, skills and experience to undertake the activities required of them.

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Chief Nurse, Health Education England said:

It is important that everyone is absolutely clear on medicine management. Patient safety is of paramount importance so we have to get this right from the outset. It is also key to clear up any confusion around what nursing associates can be expected to do.

Professor David Sines, Chair of the Medicines Management Group, Emeritus Professor and Independent Healthcare Consultant said:

I was privileged to Chair the Medicines Administration Group that advised on the production of this guidance, which is primarily designed to assist and guide trainee Nursing Associates to define and understand their role and the parameters within which they administer medicines. The Nursing Associate Scrutiny Group acknowledged that such guidance was required in order to ensure that patient safety and the delivery of harm free care.

This guidance was produced by the Medicine Management Group led by Health Education England, and was reviewed by key partners and experts in the healthcare sector to help ensure accuracy. These include officials from NHS England, NHS Improvement, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Home Office and the The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

The Nursing Associate role will be regulated under statute, which will legally establish a register of qualified nursing associates and provide assurance of high quality education and training standards, including competence to administer prescribed medicines safely.