Nursing Care Needs Standard

Nurses are at the heart of care across a wide range of services, with people and other professionals often reliant on their expertise. PRSB worked with the NHS and social care to create a new nursing standard for use across different health and social care settings.

About this standard

The Nursing Care Needs Standard aims to improve the quality and safety of care in key nurse-led areas, including care planning. It reflects best practice and standardises documentation across different nursing settings, to free nurses and give them more time to care. For example, it standardises information that a nurse in a care home or community setting can access and share in the same way as a mental health or hospital nurse, with a focus on the person’s overall wellbeing.

Patients tell us that nursing care documentation is an important source of information about their health and care needs, their strengths, and the goals they want to achieve. It describes their quality of life and how this can be improved given their health and care circumstances and underlying conditions. This standard will enable more personalised care provision and enable better self-care.

A standard that allows the exchange of information between IT systems will also enable sharing of standardised information between nurses and other health and social care professionals in the persons’ circle of care for continuity and more timely care delivery.

In scope

The standard is focused on eating and drinking, mobility, elimination (toileting and continence), personal hygiene and dressing, skin, and medication self-management.

The care settings in scope are:
• Hospital
• Community
• Nursing home

Out of scope

  • Mandating which specific risk assessment tool should be used for an assessment.
  • Nurse treatment plans used by Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANP) and in non-inpatient care settings.
  • The following clinical specialities and their patients’ needs have not been considered when developing this standard:
    • Midwifery
    • Neonatal care
    • Mental health nursing
      (However, mental health settings may also need to assess functional needs, This standard should be used where relevant.)

Example of the standard in use

Here is an example of how the Nursing Care Needs Standard might be used. The example shows the information that could be recorded and shared between the person and their different care providers.

Oliver’s story

Boy playing football
About Oliver and his condition
Oliver Parker, a 10-year-old boy has been admitted to acute care following a football injury resulting in a fractured ankle.
Pre-admission history
Oliver presented to A&E where his ankle was X-rayed, confirming a fracture which was then set in a plaster cast by the team.
He continued to complain of severe pain and was very distressed, so he was admitted to the paediatric unit for observation. (An appointment was also made for him to attend the fracture clinic in six weeks.)

Admission journey

Admission journey
Upon arrival at the ward, Nurse Rita introduces herself and explains to him and his mum, Sue, about the ward and admission process.
She explains that she will be Oliver’s named nurse during his admission and James Shaddock his nursing care assistant. They will be the people coordinating his care with the help of the rest of the team on the ward.
Rita conducts Oliver’s inpatient admission nursing care assessment with Sue present, who is his legal guardian.

Current release

Current release
Date: February 2024
Version: 1.0

  • Excel file
  • Json file
  • PRSB viewer

Supporting documentation

Further resources

  • Standards explained
    PRSB’s guide to standards which sets out the purpose and benefits of using standards and how to support frontline professionals to adopt them.
  • IHRIM record correction guidance
    Despite vigilance when filing information in records, mistakes can occur. The Institute of Health Records and Information Management has guidance to support professionals in making corrections following errors.


The standard has been endorsed by the following organisations:

  • Royal College of Nursing 
  • Royal College of General Practitioners