Tee, Steve R. and Jowett, Rosalynd
Achieving fitness to practice: contributing to public and patient protection through nurse education
Nurse Education Today, 29, (4), . (doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2008.08.013).
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To determine the impact of reforms to fitness to practice procedures, within preparatory programmes for nurses and midwives, and the implications for public and patient protection.
Professional regulation has seen considerable reform across all health care professions. Higher Education Institutions providing preparatory programmes are required to demonstrate procedures which ensure students are of good health and character in order to ensure public safety.
A critical review and evaluation of fitness to practice systems, operating in one large school of nursing and midwifery delivering a wide range of programmes, was undertaken using a case study approach.
The review revealed the need for effective collaborative management of fitness to practice panels within achievable timescales and complimentary and responsive communication processes. Good technical support was required to achieve a student friendly, confidential, on-line self-declaration process, with complementary procedures for effective follow-up, to ensure emerging issues were addressed in a timely manner.
Public protection and confidence are high priorities. Case studies are vital to develop good practice, but effective systems challenge available resources. The processes reported contributed positively to a culture of partnership and transparency where self monitoring becomes inculcated into the students’ behaviour, leading to early recognition of the importance of high professional standards.
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