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To: UK Government, Health Secretary, Employment Secretary, First Minister for Scotland, First Minister for Wales, Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Make 'Nurse' a legally protected title/designation

Make 'Nurse' a legally protected term in the United Kingdom that may only be used to indicate a person registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The terms 'Midwife' and 'Paramedic' are protected in law, but anybody can claim to be a nurse.

Why is this important?

Nursing is a degree-entry profession. Registration with the NMC is paid for and renewed annually with regular reviews and revalidation. There are requirements to satisfy continuing professional development and a minimum of practice hours. Nurses are subject to a Code of Practice and can be struck off the register if found unfit to practise.

In the recent General Election, a parliamentary candidate (Ian Levy, Conservative, Blyth Valley) claimed to be a nurse, whereas he was a mental health health care assistant. Some voters may have assumed that he had specific knowledge or expertise and this may have also extended to his credibility. Nurses are regarded by the public as one of the most trusted and reliable professions. He was duly elected.

The skills and experience of healthcare assistants and the wider nursing family are vital to healthcare provision; it would be impossible to provide a service without them. This petition in no way denigrates their role or ability - it merely seeks to provide a legal limitation on the use of the term 'Nurse.'

The Nurses Registration Act 1919 established a register of nurses and the foundation of nursing training, but did not protect the designation. The term 'registered nurse' is protected, but is ungainly and rarely used in everyday writing or speech.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”, in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. It is time to acknowledge the impact of the title Nurse by protecting it.



2021-02-05 18:01:10 +0000

500 signatures reached

2021-02-04 16:44:56 +0000

100 signatures reached

2019-12-16 11:08:13 +0000

50 signatures reached

2019-12-15 16:05:49 +0000

25 signatures reached

2019-12-15 12:42:27 +0000

10 signatures reached