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Nursing Competence - Speaker presentations

Dr Deborah Robertson opens today's conference with an extended presentation on Demonstrating and assessing competence in line with revalidation requirements, Nursing Competence: Career and competence frameworks for nursing.

Dr Robertson's presentation looks at the important concept of competence in Nursing and will look at Non-Medical Prescribing as an example. It will focus discussion around the importance of competence and discuss the National Prescribing Centre Single Competency Framework for Prescribers and how this can be used to help achieve the requirements of revalidation.

Dr Robertson reported that:

"NMP - Has given patients quicker access to medications"
"BNF - As long as they can pass the course, they’re fit to practice = Competent" 
"What does good prescribing look like - The consultation, Prescribing effectively, Prescribing in context. "
"Safety is most important, being safe in drug calculations.  Need to know who is responsible"
Appraisals are there to "develop you, plan for your next year of practice, set goals and targets. Can help validate your role."
Revalidation  - "Competence must be demonstrated through appraisal processes"

The scope of the presentation is as follows:
•    demonstrating competence and developing your portfolio for revalidation
•    planning for revalidation: getting appraisal systems right
•    developing competence and assessing competence in line with revalidation requirements
•    demonstrating and expanding Nursing Competence

The presentation will explore the key areas of competence of safe and appropriate practitioners. We will look at maintaining competence and discuss the importance of knowledge and the theoretical standpoint as well as demonstrating skills in the clinical arena. The presentation will also look at how, once developed, competence can be assessed and maintain in clinical practice. Issues around revalidation will be discussed and the relevance to nursing practice. Competency will be defined in its broadest sense but nursing competence will be at the heart of the presentation and the speaker will outline the benefits and uses of a competency framework in the development, assessment and maintenance of safe practice as well as meeting the requirements for revalidation.

Further information around prescribing competence and CPD can be obtained from:

  • DH Website- 
  • NPC/NICE site- and 
  • Nurse Prescribing Journal - 
  • Revalidation


Dr Roberton's full presentation is available to download at the end of this page.

Dr Robertson's biography:

Dr Deborah Robertson joined the faculty of Health and Social Care at University of Chester in, from the University of Dundee, to help teach NMP, and where she continues to be employed as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Health and Wellbeing. Deborah would describe herself as an RGN first and foremost but she also holds a BSc (Hons) and a PhD in Pharmacology. She worked for 3 years as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Dundee and published her work in the area of stress and depression. 
She has been programme leader for the Non-Medical Prescribing Course for more than 5 years and her teaching areas on the programme focus on her areas of expertise, namely Pharmacology, Legal Aspects of Prescribing and Public Health. She has been part of the North West Collaborative of Higher Education Institutions in NMP since her appointment and has been involved in the development and continued provision of e-learning resources for NMP education. Deborah holds a postgraduate diploma in professional education and her current pedagogical interests involve e-learning and the delivery of the Non-Medical Prescribing Course.
Deborah is co-author, with Paul Barber, of a popular textbook, Essentials of Pharmacology for Nurses now in its third edition, published by McGraw- Hill, and the soon to be Published Essentials of Medicines Management for Mental Health Nurses. For the past 4 years Deborah has been consultant editor for the journal Nurse Prescribing a role which is challenging but one she thoroughly enjoys.

Following Dr Robertson is Susan Aitkenhead Head of Nursing NHS England.  Susan's presentation covers:

  • Developing and demonstrating competence as part of the 6Cs;
  • Embedding a shared purpose, values and the 6Cs for all;
  • Building on Compassion in Practice – a new framework for nursing, midwifery and care staff.


Compassion in Practice (CiP) concludes in March 2016. It has been widely adopted across care settings; created a strong foundation of values and delivered a range of policy initiatives and products to support improvements in the health and care system that were needed in the post Francis environment.

It has been widely recognised that a commitment to the 6Cs in delivering person-focused quality care, has brought us to where we are now.

There is now an opportunity with the co-production of a new framework for nursing, midwifery and care staff to build on the previous successes of CiP.

This presentation will discuss the above and set out the work undertaken so far with the new framework.

Key Learning Points:

  • Following the conclusion of Compassion in Practice (CiP) at the end of March 2016; the 6Cs, namely, Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment are the values that will continue to be central to everything that we do going forward to 2020 and beyond.
  • With the 6Cs as our continuing value base, nurses, midwives and care staff have unique opportunities to deliver improved outcomes in partnership with individuals and populations.
  • Our ambitions now build on the CiP work, and set out how our competence alongside our knowledge, skills and behaviours position us to be playing a leading role in the delivery of healthcare across the system.


Susan's Biography:

Susan Aitkenhead is a registered nurse with extensive clinical, operational and strategic experience in delivering healthcare across a variety of settings.

With a clinical background as a nurse consultant in paediatric pain management; she has a post-graduate diploma in palliative care from the University of Glasgow and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh.

She has held posts at national level within regulation and central government; and previous roles at board level both within the UK and overseas.

Having returned a few years ago from the valuable opportunity of working as Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery in healthcare overseas; she undertook some short term posts such as Assistant Chief Nurse for NHS England (London Region), part-time backfilling of the Chief Nurse post at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and developed quality practice standards for Health Education England, South London.

She is currently working as Head of Nursing for NHS England. Her portfolio incorporates operational lead for the new framework for nursing, midwifery and care staff which is building on Compassion in Practice; professional lead for workforce, and the national lead for nursing and midwifery revalidation within NHS England. 


Download: Dr Roberton's full presentaion

11 March 2016


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