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Prospective student nurses should have experience of 'direct care'

The Francis report has highlighted the need to recruit nursing students with a positive attitude to care.

The report stresses a need to recruit in to the profession only those who possess “the appropriate values, attitudes and behaviours”.

It is recommended that no-one should be accepted on to a nursing course unless they have spent a minimum of three months working on the direct care of patients under the supervision of a registered nurse.

This is coupled with an aptitude test “at entry in to the profession” to assess the candidates’ attitudes towards caring, compassion and other necessary professional values.

It is suggested that this should be introduced by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in conjunction with the universities providing the training.

The report also highlights a need for national standards to be rolled out ensuring that nurse training involves “sufficient practical elements”.

In order for all nurses to be trained to a consistently high standard, it is suggested that all student nurses will sit the same examinations and receive a common qualification. At present this is largely dependent on the individual institution.

In theory, these steps will place emphasis on nursing institutions to produce a workforce who provide a consistently high-standard of compassionate care.

Readers' comments (13)

  • Three months direct care experience supervised by a registered nurse? This will be tricky, as we're usually saturated with pre-reg nursing students.

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  • and how do you go about getting this three months experience before even being considered for a nursing course?! because i am currently applying for work within the health care sector an i cant get a job because i have no experience, but how am i supposed to gain any if nobody will employ...its a vicious circle!

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  • This is never going to happen. If you volunteer nowadays you are basically putting out food or cleaning. There will be little opportunity for prospective students as the current students are taking up the positions that the report wants prospective students to have.

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  • Is this not what nursing was like many years ago? Back in the 'good old days' (1970's) I did a pre-nursing course at college, which included a short secondment working on a childrens ward in the local hospital. I helped to make beds, feed patients and put the laundry away. Whilst I was given basic tasks this 'taster' gave me an insight into the daily routine of working on a ward and what a nurse does, including how to interact with patients. I'm afraid I am of the 'old school' and believe you dont need a degree to be a nurse. I did my nurse training working on the wards starting with bed bathing patients and making beds. Whilst I agree not all aspects were good, patients were well looked after and respected, nurses received excellent hands on training (and theory training in the nursing 'school') AND on qualifying you didnt need a mentor as you were prepared and ready to run a ward. I feel the more academic nursing has become, the more removed nurses are from giving & understanding basic nursing care. This is where compassion in nursing is lost, we have been recruiting the wrong people. Nursing is a 'hands on' profession and as such cannot be taught in a lecture theatre.

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  • Change nurse training! When I trained, experience was integrated with theory-by the time you qualified you were more than able to work. And train nurses to be nurses first and foremost-wonderful as the young nurses are, the emphasis of their training has not been patient care, with the duplicatious paperwork, computer-work, tasks now given to nurses rather than junior doctors e,t,c......

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  • when I trained half the patients were up and about and helping the nurses make beds and do teas, Drs did IVs, there were no care plans just a Kardex......
    The world has changed!!!! We need well-educated nurses who are also competent. The digs at nurse education are ill informed. The first students with the new degree wont qualify until 2014. The majority of nurses delivering care have diplomas or the old SRN qualification. So lets stop passing the buck! We need enough qualified nurses on duty to deliver care and supervise HCAs and students. Students role model what they see!

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  • Yes, the world has changed, but not for the benefit of patients! Digs at nurse education? There is nothing wrong with the 'old' SRN qualification. Nurses cared in those days and were well educated, trained and competent to run a ward on qualifying! My experience of todays 'degree' nurses is that they are sorely lacking in basic nursing skills i.e. hands on care, and sadly, compassion. How many times have I seen patients meals and drinks placed out of reach, elderly patients where it is obvious to any lay person, they havent a hope in hell of feeding themselves (basic needs!) - the ward sister/matron ('old' SRN/diploma trained nurse!) would NEVER have allowed this to happen. Nurse education today is sitting in a lectures, how does that teach them hands on care?! It beggars belief that these nurses need a mentor on qualifying (this is very telling of their experience/education). The Francis report highlights a need for national standards to be rolled out ensuring that nurse training involves “sufficient practical elements”. He's hit the nail on the head - back to basics!!!!!

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  • We can always talk about the good old days, out with the with the new...or Project 2000 nurses were too posh to was as they had a diploma, the I remember when culture has to change!! The public, themselves have changed. We live in a culture where nurses and the students feel it is their right to answer mobile phones, be friends with mentors on face book, whist wearing false nails and eyelashes...the training still looks at the fundamentals, caring behaviour and compassion, but believe it or not the people entering the profession are changing. How can we be role models for them? How can we teach them anything when the staff in he system pass students that are unsafe as they give them the benefit of the doubt! Or they will improve?? Why? It's not my problem, you will hear...if we get the basics of education right and support our mentors, we can teach the nurses of the future with an untainted view of nursing, before they too get sucked into the Facebook, Holby city culture. By the way, I was a project 2000 nurse, and I made my career as a nurse the best I could. Even I had people tell me I was too posh to wash! Lets stop this generation gap rubbish and realise that we all have a part to play within nurse education by supporting those who will make fabulous nurses, and fail those that won't...why does this not happen? We also have no staff to do it....strange staff cuts have been glossed over during finger pointing, who asked to save money?? Was it nurses?

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  • It's 50% theory and 50% practical assessments within nurse education, so how can it simply be the university lectures??? Practice mentors need to take some responsibility for mentoring too...the student needs to be shown how to be a nurse, as 18 is a VERY young 18 year old now. Minimal maturity, needs nurturing and supporting. That's what our mentors can do. Don't lay blame on the training, we have to look more inward and ask ourselves, when did we last fail a student? When did we challenge poor attitudes on the wards? When did it become acceptable to be rude to people? Perhaps stressed people do terrible things when they are working under pressure. Minimum staffing levels must be mandatory. One on nurses, are you going to accept this public nurse bashing?? Our halo has slipped, lets try and make it right.

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    As i said so many times we need our nurses to be trained in our hospitals ,Not educated in universities. there is a fundamental difference believe me. and the students should be paid a living wage not a meager bursary.

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  • The many comments above illustrate exactly why the NHS has contempt for nursing and why nursing as a vocation/degree/career/job is failing. BECAUSE you are allowing it to! We are all attacking each other instead of putting our energies to good use by attacking the DOH/the govt/the rcn. The NHS is a hierarchy, until that changes there will be no other change, despite nurses best efforts. If we continue to act like victims we will be treated as such, not as caring, competent, hardworking and well educated nurses.
    There is no generic nurse, we are all doing different jobs in different environments, with different groups of patients. We all have different ideas, backgrounds, qualifications, skills, etc etc. We treat patients as individuals so why not respect each other's differences?! Most nurse become nurses because we CARE, we want to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. And we are in most cases. Let's focus on the common ground we all share. And let's give each other a break! It's too easy to fall into the negative trap of thinking that we as individuals are the only ones who care what happens to our patients.

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  • I am a mature student nurse, I am doing a degree and so far this is my experience, mentors who couldn't give a monkeys about teaching me anything and tell us not to talk to patients. Older/more experienced nurses who keep claiming that we are too posh to wash, have no compassion etc etc., this is complete rubbish and I find it insulting, there are people in the profession who do not have a degree and are the worst example of a human being or nurse, they bully students and newer members of staff and are forming a culture of them and us. I have also been a patient several times and have experienced bad care from nurses from the 'good old days'. Perhaps you ought to think about the sacrifices we make to become nurses and how difficult it is to get onto a course in the first place, the studying, the exams, the sacrifice of three years of your life. The difference between doing a degree is that we are educated to question, to understand why things are done and to back up what we say and do with evidence, something that is clearly lacking in these nurses who make accusations based on personal opinion and not on evidence. Everybody in my cohort is compassionate, caring, thoughtful and dedicated to providing the best possible care to every patient they come into contact with.

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  • Wells said anon 11.2.13 - 2.17
    The culture of bullying that you describe is one of the reasons that all those deaths occurred in Staffordshire. Many nurses that were doing their best, who did care about patients in their care were too scared to speak out.

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