How will the Francis report change things for student nurses?
With a strong emphasis currently on nursing becoming a more compassionate profession, the Francis report has highlighted a need to recruit nursing students who already possess a positive attitude to care. Much of the report regarding pre-registration training reflects this.
- Recruitment. The report stresses a need to recruit on to nurse courses only those who possess “the appropriate values, attitudes and behaviours”. Robert Francis QC refers to student nurses needing to be intelligent, caring and having an intrinsic want to help others.
- Demonstrable passion for nursing. Prior to being accepted on to a nursing course, aspiring nurses need to demonstrate that they are motivated to put the welfare of others above their own and passionate about the values which underpin nursing, the report suggests.
- Nursing experience. In order to show this, Mr Francis suggests that one of the minimum requirements to study nursing is three months spent working in direct patient care, under the supervision of a qualified nurse.
- Aptitude testing. Further to this, he suggests nurses are subjected to an ‘aptitude test’ – the thinking behind which is to ensure nurses are willing and capable to undertake hands-on care and not just interested in the more technical aspects of nursing.
- Nurse education. Reassuringly, the report acknowledges that nurses being educated to a high level under the current system, does not make them incapable of providing personal care.
- Practical nursing. However, the report highlights the need for practical elements, such as lifting and personal care, to be even more prominent in nurse education and for this to be governed by national standards. It is stressed that these are skilled tasks that require an appropriate level of training.
- High standards. Mr Francis stresses a need for all nursing students to be trained to the same high standards. To do this he suggests that all student nurses nationwide sit the same exams and receive the same common qualification at the end of the course.