2016 Framework for Nurses in AMAUs & MAUs

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Dr Siobhan O’Halloran, Minister Corcoran Kennedy at the launch of the Framework for nurses in Acute Medical & Medical Assessment Units

On Monday 5th September 2016, the Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, launched “Setting the Direction: A Development Framework, supporting Nursing Practice Skills and Competencies in Acute Medical Assessment Units (AMAUs) and Medical Assessment Units (MAUs)” at the annual Acute Medicine Nursing Interest Group (AMNIG) Nursing  Symposium held at Dublin Castle. The Minister was joined by Dr. Siobhan O’Halloran, Dr Philippa Ryan Withero, Dr Anne-Marie Ryan and Ms Sinead Lardner from the Department of Health’s Chief Nursing Officer’s Office.

Speaking at the event, Minister Corcoran Kennedy said, “The Development Framework to support Nursing Practice Skills and Competencies in Acute Medical Assessment Units and Medical Assessment Units is key to shaping the future design and direction of nursing in Acute Medicine. I wish you well as you continue to develop these services and know that it is always undertaken with the best interests of the patient at heart. I can assure you of my ongoing commitment and support and that of the government.”

The framework  publication by AMNIG has been developed in consultation and co-designed with  nursing staff across acute medicine units, in addition to a research review of the international literature and consultation with various clinical and policy interest groups. The co-design approach to the development of the framework, that includes a skills and competencies directory, has provided the opportunity for nurses to collaboratively and collectively develop their own professional knowledge, skills and competencies whilst meeting service requirements in a rapidly transforming healthcare environment. It also prompted the initiation of a post-graduate Diploma in Acute Medicine Nursing at National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) during the developmental phase.

The work is underpinned by the vision for healthcare as described in the HSE Corporate Plan 2015-2017 that aims to strive for “a healthier Ireland with a high quality service valued by all”. Equally it supports the HSE / RCPI Acute Medicine Programme objectives of improving care quality ensuring access to services for acutely unwell medical patients, and cost effectiveness.

Also speaking at today’s event, Ms Mary Wynne, Interim Nursing and Midwifery Services Director, HSE, congratulated the Director of Nursing Leads within the Acute Medicine Programme and AMNIG members on the publication of the framework.  She said “developing, expanding and advancing nursing skills and competencies within acute medicine nursing is critical to the delivery of quality care that is safe and effective.”  This framework, underpinned by, and based on the definitions, models and theories of the nursing profession, facilitates a standardised approach for the development of skills and competencies nationally. Ms Wynne noted how “this publication articulates for the first time, the skills and competencies necessary to be held and developed for nurses in acute medicine, at core, specialist and advanced practice levels.”

Ms Wynne also observed the publication of the framework as significant, whereby to date there has been a dearth of international evidence on the specific skills and competencies required by nurses practicing in acute medicine”.

The framework also marks the initiation of a planned process for the development of acute medicine nursing. In excess of 170 skills are identified in the publication, underpinned by the Six Domains of Competence of Nursing Practice determined by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI). .  Ms Wynne, while committing the support of her office for this initiative, informed the audience that the next steps (some of which are already commenced), will be to implement the 20 recommendations in the report.  This will be done in collaboration with Hospital Group Directors of Nursing, front line nurses, the Acute Medicine Programme, third level colleges, Nurse Planning and Development Units and Centres for Nurse Education, along with regulatory bodies. This collaboration will promote an integrated approach at individual, team and organisational level for the enhancement of values based, safe, quality patient care, and the development of acute medicine nursing.

In his closing remarks, Mr Richard Walsh, Director of Nursing Lead, Acute Medicine programme, thanked all those who contributed to the framework development processes.  He encouraged all staff engaged in the delivery of acute medical nursing services to familiarise themselves with the framework and that of the directories contained in “Setting the Direction” and to utilise it to support continued practice development.