Nurses get the “respect they deserve” when the government protects their job title, ministers said.
Concerns have been raised about those who describe themselves as nurses spreading misinformation, including about Covid vaccines.
Former Labor Secretary Dawn Butler supports calls for the nurse title to be given special status in order to improve patient safety.
The Registered Nurse title is protected in the UK and all nurses and midwives must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council to practice.
However, the title “nurse” has no legal protection.
Brent Central MP Ms. Butler said, “Our amazing registered nurses have been on the front lines during the pandemic as they always are.
“They protect us every day, so we have to protect and value them and their jobs too.
“This change will also ensure patient safety by protecting against harmful misinformation, such as from people who may have been deleted or who are not qualified nurses.”
She added, “This pandemic has shown us the importance of showing the nurses the respect they deserve.”
Anti-vaccination activist Kate Shemirani, who has been removed from the official register, claims to be a nurse.
According to the NMC, she was “removed from a fitness practice panel,” but continues to refer to herself as a nurse in speeches at demonstrations.
Professor Alison Leary, professor of health and people modeling at London South Bank University, said this could “give credibility” to the anti-vaccination movement.
However, Professor Leary also said protecting the title is important in order to provide “absolute clarity” about the health professionals treating patients and to ensure that patients are receiving good care.
She said: “In this country, depending on who you speak to – in England – we have between 34,000 and 50,000 registered nurse jobs and employers inside and outside the NHS are actually pretty desperate to fill them.
“A lot of people think there is just no money, but these jobs are established jobs and they don’t have the people to fill them.”
She added that the vacancies are often filled by physical therapists and occupational therapists, medical staff who have “value of their own” but do not have the right skills to be “vigilant professionals” like nurses.
Professor Leary described nurses as “health care air traffic controllers” because they “pick out the signs that someone is getting sicker and administer care”.
The professor warned, “What we have known for many years, every single request from Ely Hospital in the 1960s to Cawston Park a few weeks ago shows that if you don’t have enough registered nurses or people with the right qualifications and experience , then catastrophic things happen to the patient. “
Professor Leary posted a petition on Parliament’s website to grant a proprietary title to nurse and has been signed by more than 29,000 people.
Ms. Butler asked the government in a written parliamentary question whether they wanted to protect the title.
Health Secretary Edward Argar replied: “The Department (of Health and Welfare) has started discussions with professional regulators, including the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer for England and the Royal College of Nursing on the issue of protected titles to be investigated as part of the government’s ongoing review of professional regulation.
“We will consider the protection of title offenses in relation to registered nurses, midwives and nursing assistants in the reform of the legal framework of the NMC.”
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