Responding to the news, newly qualified nurse Fiona told NursingNotes, “I’m not sure what they would cut. Your nurse training isn’t a solely classroom-based education that can be rushed through – patients’ lives are literally in your hands.”
“Do I think this is a good idea? No – you not only need to think about patient safety but also the mental health and wellbeing of those student nurses being pushed to do much more in much less time.”
It is not yet known if the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will reduce their justifiably strict requirements of 2,300 hours of clinical practice alongside 2,300 hours of lectures.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned that the move won’t come without compromises.
RCN director of nursing Nicola Ranger explained, “Training on the job or spending less time in education are both high risk moves that could compromise the supply of highly skilled nursing staff needed.
“The real issue is the shortage of students, not the time it takes. The policy to fix these shortages is to cover the tuition fees and costs of university for nursing students to rapidly boost numbers.”
Ms Ranger concluded, “Instead of fast-tracking degrees ministers should commit to investing in nurse education and provide a fully funded plan to recruit and retain the nurses needed to safeguard the future of the NHS.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the, now further delayed, NHS workforce plan would address the issue of recruitment and retention.
“We are continually improving medical and nursing training and have introduced innovations including blended online nursing degrees and medical and nursing apprenticeships, alongside increasing the number of hours of simulated training, providing greater flexibility.”