Epilepsy is a common neurological condition that can have effects that reach far into the lives of the person/people with epilepsy (PWE). Since 1988, epilepsy specialist nurses have been involved in managing and supporting PWE. However, despite this long association, it was not until 2012 and the first publication of the epilepsy specialist competencies that agreed guidelines for recruiting and training came into force. This guidance also agreed the clinical experience and educational attainment the nurse should have prior to moving into the field of specialist nursing.
These 3 frameworks set out the educational and professional criteria for nurses caring for people with epilepsy. Additionally, they provide the opportunity for the nurse and their employer to agree a professional development plan (PDP). This plan will assist and evidence their passage from specialist novice nurse to competent practitioner and finally to expert safely. It is envisaged that the competency frameworks will be used across the UK by healthcare providers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and be embedded in national appraisal systems.
Epilepsy services vary, depending on locality, but there is agreement that role requirements can and should be standardised. This should support the recruitment and succession-planning process as well as improving patient safety and the quality of epilepsy services provided.
The 3 frameworks can be downloaded here: