SFH meets nursing profession sector to review effectiveness of Voluntary Scheme on Advanced and Specialised Nursing Practice (with photos)


     The Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, met with representatives of the Nursing Council of Hong Kong (NCHK), nursing schools of universities and nursing professional organisations today (June 21) to review the progress and effectiveness of the Voluntary Scheme on Advanced and Specialised Nursing Practice (the Scheme).


     The NCHK launched the Scheme on January 27 last year, with a view to enhancing the professional competence of nurses in Hong Kong, and laying the foundation for setting up a statutory registration system for advanced practice nurses (APNs) in the long run. In the light of the higher responsibilities and competencies of APNs as compared with registered nurses (RNs) at the entry level, the NCHK has specifically drawn up a set of common core competencies for APNs to differentiate the respective professional levels of an RN and an APN. In addition, the Hong Kong Academy of Nursing and its colleges have formulated the relevant core competencies for APNs of the 16 specialties in accordance with the Scheme.


     Currently, the NCHK accepts applications for recognition as APNs in all 16 specialties. To date, over 3 500 applications have been received, of which around 2 600 have been approved.


     Professor Chan said, “Development of specialty nursing is a global trend. I am deeply encouraged and pleased to see that the Voluntary Scheme on Advanced and Specialised Nursing Practice has progressed well thus far. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the NCHK and all the practitioners in the nursing sector who assisted in taking forward the Scheme. I appeal to all nursing practitioners to continue their active participation in the Scheme, so as to sustain the advancement in professional competence and capability of the nursing profession, thereby providing better nursing services to the public. Successful implementation of the Scheme can be followed by setting up a statutory registration system in the next stage.”


     At the meeting, Professor Chan also mentioned that, as stated in the 2021 Policy Address, the Government will legislate to make continuing professional education and/or continuing professional development a mandatory requirement in order to ensure the professional competence of local healthcare personnel (including nurses). Furthermore, the Government will continue to pursue a multi-pronged approach to enhance healthcare manpower, including increasing local healthcare training places and admitting qualified non-locally trained healthcare professionals, with a view to alleviating the healthcare manpower shortage in Hong Kong as well as supporting the development of various healthcare services.


     With the Government’s extensive efforts in developing and establishing the primary healthcare system, Professor Chan also elaborated and requested the NCHK, academic institutions and organisations to add primary healthcare elements to their undergraduate and specialist training programmes. The care co-ordination role of nurses in District Health Centres should be strengthened, so as to further alleviate the pressure on the public healthcare system and enhance the health of the public.