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New Roles

The New Roles Guide can help you and your managers through the process of developing new roles, or changing existing roles significantly. The Guide contains eight sections that you can use in any order.


New Roles Guide graphic


New Roles Guide

  • Planning for New Role Development

    Planning for new roles is necessary to identify the long and short-term factors required for successful development. The planning process should include:

    • An appraisal of the options to meet the service needs.
    • An analysis of the stakeholders who have an interest in the new role.
    • A communication strategy to keep all stakeholders updated.
    • An assessment of the impact of this new role on other roles.
    • Agreement on the lifespan of the new role i.e. temporary, pilot or permanent.
    • An assessment of the resources required to support this new role, such as: grade of post holder; secretarial support; office accommodation and equipment to support the post holder, particularly information technology learning and development needs.
    • An evaluation strategy to show how the new role has met the service objectives. The evaluation should include the views of patients, clients, the post holders and other stakeholders. The career development prospects of the new role should also be considered.
  • Type of Role Development

    When the service needs have been identified, it is necessary to think about the type of role development required. You may find it helpful to consider the following questions:

    • What competencies are required to provide safe and effective care?
    • Do these competencies exist within the current workforce?
    • If not, how can the competencies be developed?
    • Can the service objectives be addressed by expanding an existing role or developing a new role?
    • Is the proposed role development in line with the NMC Code: Professional Standards of Practice and Behaviour for Nurses and Midwives (NMC, 2015)?

    It is also important that an assessment of the impact of the proposed role development on the workforce is carried out. This will help identify issues such as: capacity of the workforce to support this role development; impact on other roles and workforce issues, including skill mix and the time frame available to develop the required competencies or create a new role.

  • Leadership and Management

    Leadership at all levels is essential when developing new roles, to ensure successful implementation. At a strategic level leadership is required to:

    • Engage the relevant stakeholders in the role development to gain ownership and commitment.
    • Secure the necessary resources to sustain the role development.
    • Overcome barriers to role development, such as personal challenges or group resistance to the proposed changes.

    At an operational level, leadership is required to steer the role development process towards successful implementation. The main issues for you to consider include:

    • Preparation of a job description and personal specification.
    • Recruitment of staff with required competence.
    • Induction of post holder to new role.
  • Competence Development

    Competence is developed in a variety of ways and it is important to remember that individuals have different learning styles. When considering the development of competence for a new role you may find it helpful to consider: the competencies you need to develop to do your job well; how you plan to meet your learning and development needs; how you will record evidence of your continuous professional development.

    Where new roles cross professional boundaries, you need to assess carefully your learning needs and competence and consider your professional supervision requirements.

  • Professional Accountability

    Public protection is very important when developing new roles. When considering professional accountability, you may find it helpful to think about:

    • The scope of responsibility and accountability for your new role.
    • How your practice will be regulated – where required.

    If you intend to continue practicing as a nurse, midwife or SCPHN, then your new role should be developed in line with The Code: Professional Standards of Practice and Behaviour for Nurses and Midwives (NMC, 2015). Some role developments may require registrants to practice beyond traditional boundaries. If this is the case, you need to give careful consideration to the way your practice will be regulated and the potential need for indemnity insurance to ensure that the public are protected.

  • Governance Requirements

    Patient and client safety must be of paramount importance when developing new roles. You may find it helpful, therefore, to think about the following points:

    • How you identify and manage risks associated with your practice.
    • The need for protocols to guide your practice or the practice of others who report to you.
    • How these protocols will be developed and who needs to be involved.
    • How your ongoing learning and development needs will be met.
    • How your professional supervision needs will be met.
  • Evaluation and Future Considerations

    New roles should be evaluated to show how they meet the service objectives they were developed for. When thinking about evaluation, you may find it helpful to consider the following points:

    • How your new role has contributed to the delivery of a quality service.
    • How patients, clients and carers view your service.
    • How it has improved their quality of life.
    • How your colleagues and managers view your service.
    • How your new role has enhanced the work of the multi-professional team.
    • How your new role has been a good investment by your employer.
    • Your own view on your new role and the service you provide.
    • Your level of confidence and competence in your new role.
    • Who or what has helped you to develop in this new role?
    • What, if anything, is missing?
    • How your new role has contributed to your career planning and development.

    When considering evaluating a new role, it may be best to invite an outside person to carry out the evaluation to ensure objectivity and credibility.

  • Assessing the Need for Role Development

    When assessing the need for new roles, you may find the following questions helpful:

    • What are the driving forces for the role development?
    • What are the service objectives in terms of benefits to patients/clients and the organisation?

    The term ‘driving forces’ refers to the pressures on the service that require solutions that ensuring safe and effective care for patients and clients. Examples of such pressures include:

    • Changes in policy or legislation, such as the working time directive on junior doctors’ hours.
    • Changes in the way a service is delivered, such as those proposed in Developing Better Services for the way in which acute hospital services will be delivered in the future.
    • Changes in professional practice, such as the way in which registrants have developed their practice and are now able to carry out a wider range of skills.

    When the driving forces have been identified, your employer or managers need to state how this service will be provided in the future. The service objectives should be stated in terms of the benefits to patients, clients, and the organisation.