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Amicustheunion

Re: School Nurse Regrading F & G Grade Distinction
 

The distinction I would like to draw when comparing grade F and grade G in relation to school nurses are as follows:

The clinical grading criteria as defined by Whitley and implemented in 1988 predates all the advances that have taken place professional and educationally in school nursing practice.

Grade F - in 1988 was seen as the minimum grade for school nurses as it was acknowledged that this should be the minimum grade for nurses working on their own in the community with specific (but not overall responsibility) for a caseload. In 1988 much responsibility was carried by the CMO and routine school medicals were the norm. Today school nursing practice has advanced. The CMOs function has rightly almost ceased with school nurses having "overall responsibility" for their caseloads (see also my email regarding the particular issues raised on overall responsibility).

Grade G in 1988 was rightly seen as the minimum grade for health visitors, district nurses and CPNs with the appropriate qualifications. School nurse education at the time was at certificate level with some diploma level courses, but was not on a par with other community nursing courses at that time. This was rectified in 1994 by the UKCC Standards for Specialist Education and Practice. School Nursing was recognised as one of the eight specialist practice pathways along with health visitors, district nurses, CPNs etc. The knowledge skills and competencies for school nursing is at the same level as the other 7 specialist practice programmes.

However this does not mean that only school nurses with the specialist practice training should be graded at G. It is not solely the qualification but the level at which the school nurses practice. To this end the UKCC made clear in its transitional arrangements that the title specialist practitioner would apply if the practitioners had

  • An appropriate part of the nursing register.

  • A recordable school nursing qualification.

  • Recorded that practitioner or employer are confident that the skills and knowledge base enabled safe and effective practice.

  • Consolidated the post registration recordable qualification.

It therefore makes total nonsense to apply the same 1988 F grade criteria to 2003 school nursing practice as it is the same as saying that practice and education has not changed in the last 15 years.

Pat Jackson, Professional Officer for School Health and Public Health

May 2003

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