University degrees are the ‘fastest and safest way’ to train nurses

The RCN claims the report makes it clear that the university route remains the fastest and safest way to educate, train and recruit the nurses so desperately needed.

James McKay
6 December 2018
student nurse staff nurse

A report by the education select committee found that nursing apprentices are not a sustainable route into the profession.

The Royal College of Nursing has reiterated the need for government investment in nursing higher education, as a report out today finds the nursing apprenticeship pathway, which includes the training of nursing associates, is not providing a sustainable route into the profession.

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The report by the House of Commons Education Committee – Nursing Degree Apprenticeships: In Poor Health? – has called the Government’s vision of nursing degree apprenticeships being a realistic and sustainable route into the nursing profession a “mirage”.

It warns that uptake has been far too slow and that there is “no evidence” to show how the Government intends to meet a target of 400 nursing associates progressing to degree apprenticeships from 2019.

The RCN says they welcome apprenticeships as long as they are properly resourced and implemented safely. The college reiterated that there should be no concessions on students’ learning status with supernumerary status essential for safe nurse training.

The safest way to train Nurses.

The RCN claims the report makes it clear that the university route remains the fastest and safest way to educate, train and recruit the nurses so desperately needed.

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Dr. Anne Corrin, RCN Head of Professional Learning and Development, said: “Nursing degree apprenticeships are far from the magic bullet the Government promised to grow nurse numbers and keep patients safe.

“They are trapped in a tangle of regulation that offers cash-strapped employers little incentive to run schemes and recruit apprentices. Take up is very low. We support the recommendations in the report that seek to address these issues.

“However, we are concerned the report suggests a more flexible approach to students’ learning status. The RCN is clear that the Government must commit to maintaining supernumerary status for nursing apprentices, so that they are not counted in staffing numbers. Supernumerary status is vital if apprenticeships are to provide the safe route into nursing that patients deserve.”

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