Connect with us


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.



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.

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.

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.”


One in six nursing associates drop out before qualifying, finds report

Despite this trainees showed “high levels of enthusiasm and commitment to the programme”.



Group of nurses in meeting

Only 65% of trainee nursing associates said they planned to work as a nursing associate once qualified.

An independent evaluation of the nursing associate role commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) has found that while there are “high levels of enthusiasm and commitment to the programme”, one in six nursing associates are dropping out before completing the course.

Attrition rates for trainee nursing associates fell slightly below that of student nurses, with 18% leaving before completing the course.


While ill health and personal issues were some of the most common reasons for leaving the programme, nearly a quarter (23%) withdrew because they failed to meet the academic requirements of the programme – with numeracy skills cited as a key issue.

One trainee said they found the “attitudes towards the role and the negative feedback about Nursing Associates” challenging.

Only 65% of trainees said they intend to continue working as a nursing associate once qualified as the programme is often seen as a stepping stone to becoming a registered nursing.

Highlighting challenges.

Mark Radford, Chief Nursing Officer, Health Education England said the report “highlights some challenges that we must address to ensure that students such as ensuring the quality and oversight of placements, attrition and numeracy support.”

“We also recognise that further work and research is required to ensure that the profession is supported and utilised in the workforce of health and social care as part of the MDT. I am pleased to be able to report that we are in the process of identifying candidates to be considered as NA ambassadors across England.

Commenting on the report, Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), said; “Having had the pleasure of meeting many nursing associates across the country, I am continually inspired by their enthusiasm and dedication for providing care and they should be very proud of the difference they make for the people they support.”

“I look forward to seeing how nursing associates continue to develop and be supported in their work, long into the future.”

Continue Reading


UCAS accused of having an ‘outdated’ view on nurses

They describe the nursing role to prospective students as looking after people when they are sick or injured.



Student Nurse Lecture Theatre

UCAS describes nurses as providing “support to doctors and other medical staff”.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has been accused of having an “outdated” view on nurses after it described the profession as providing “support to doctors and other medical staff”.

UCAS describes the nursing role to prospective students as looking after people when they are sick or injured. Adding; “You’ll provide support to doctors and other medical staff, take blood and urine samples, and in some cases, you may carry out minor surgical procedures.”


Nurses, alongside a multitude of other healthcare professionals, have taken to social media calling for the description to be amended so it “adequately reflects nursing in the 21st century”. They also criticised the article for failing to highlight a large number of health promotion and research roles frequently undertaken by the profession.

BJ Walto, a senior member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) commented that the description is “inaccurate, demeaning and totally misleading portrayal of nursing.”

Tom Wavlin, a Lecturer in Adult Nursing & Admissions Tutor at the University of Plymouth, suggested the description could instead read; “an autonomous practitioner of nursing who works closely with other healthcare professionals”.

In comparison, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) website reads; “Registered nurses play a vital role in providing, leading and coordinating care that is compassionate, evidence-based, and person-centred. They are accountable for their own actions and must be able to work autonomously, or as an equal partner with a range of other professionals, and in interdisciplinary teams.”

A spokesperson for UCAS said; “It’s clear that our current role profile for nurses doesn’t reflect the amazing work that nurses across the country do each day, and we welcome the feedback we’ve recently received.

“We want to make sure that students considering their future options have up-to date information about all different careers available to them.

“We’re currently updating all of our job profiles and are in touch with nursing experts to help us make sure that we better reflect the roles and responsibilities of nurses today.”

UPDATE (17/10/19 09:55): This article was updated to include a comment from UCAS.

Continue Reading