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Council creates barriers to practice.

In February, I was one of the five percent of nurses audited by the Nursing Council during renewal of my annual practising certificate (APC). After spending a full day of my own time preparing the required documentation, I duly sent it away. It was a surprise to me, after 25 years of practice, to be told I was not competent and that I would not have my APC renewed until I sent in two new performance appraisals. So I spent another full day of my own time organising the required documentation.

It took two months after my APC had expired to have it finally renewed. This highlights some of the issues surrounding the Council's Continuing Competency Framework. Contrary to what the Council initially concluded, I am a competent nurse and pride myself on ensuring a high standard of practice. Portfolios do not accurately reflect a nurse's level of competence. Preparing the documentation is very time consuming. I work two days a week in busy and acute areas, study part-time and am the sole parent of three young children. Who has time to spend on appeasing the Nursing Council? Does the Council not realise there is a nursing shortage? Creating barriers to practice will drive nurses away, as many of us are working mothers and have many roles to balance.

Nursing is a demanding job, not just physically and mentally, but also to ensure our practice is current and safe. Now we see nurses being litigated against. Nurses need support, not barriers and extra demands placed on them. The Council needs to recognise the reality of working in today's environment and should review its current approach to evaluating nurses' competence.

Cecelia van Hassel-O'Brien, RN, Timaru
COPYRIGHT 2006 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation
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Title Annotation:LETTERS: TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
Author:van Hassel-O'Brien, Cecelia
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:284
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