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Presssure mounts on Nursing Council re en title.

NZNO has welcomed the recommendation of Parliament's Health Select Committee that the Nursing Council revisit the enrolled nurse title and fully consult with those affected. The recommendation was announced early in December, after the committee had considered a petition by Labour MP Lianne DalzieL.

In August 2004, the Nursing Council announced four scopes of practice under the Health Practitioners' Competence Assurance Act. Two of these were enrolled nurse (EN) and nurse assistant (NA). The second title applies to those who have completed or are completing training through the Northland and Christchurch Polytechnic education programmes, despite the fact their courses are called EN programmes.

When the Council announced the new titles, the students and graduates of these courses were outraged. They complained that the Council had not consuLted them directly and that they had undertaken their training believing they would graduate as ENs. They mounted a petition, signed by nearly 600 affected people, which was presented to the House of Representatives in September, calling for the retention of the EN title.

In her submission, Dalziel argued that the new NA title created an unfair and inconsistent perception. She was concerned that the title did not recognise that the graduates had undertaken a formal nursing programme and that the new title could be confused with other titles used for unregulated caregivers, such as "nursing assistant", "hospital assistant" and "nurse aide".

The committee agreed the NA title created a perception that no formal training had been undertaken by the person and that the title change for those affected students should be waived. The committee was also concerned that the 59 students who were studying in the second-level nursing programmes were omitted from the consultation process, when they were the ones most directly affected. The committee considers those currently enrolled in or who have completed an EN course since 2000 should be "grandparented" and that the council should consider a title that makes it clear that the position is that of a nurse.

NZNO chief executive Geoff Annals said he was looking forward to working constructively with the Nursing Council to resolve the issue, so ENs could secure their place as an essential and valued part of the nursing workforce. In the meantime, NZNO has decided to hold off from presenting a complaint to Parliament's Regulations Review Committee on the NA title. Annals said NZNO's preference was to work on a resolution of the issues with Nursing Council, which was now under huge pressure to revise its decision. NZNO hoped for improvements in both the scope and the level of the EN qualification.
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Title Annotation:News And Events
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Dec 1, 2004
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