Ministers are considering whether to require aspiring nurses to complete a year’s caring experience before they are accepted onto a degree course.
In the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry report, published last month, Robert Francis QC recommended that student nurses spend at least three months working on direct care of patients under the supervision of a registered nurse.
He said it should be a “pre-condition for continuation in nurse training” and could include work as a healthcare assistant.
Nursing Times learnt yesterday that the government was considering announcing plans to pilot such a scheme as part of its formal response to the Francis report, which will be published later today.
However, ministers are going further than Mr Francis and instead favour a period of at least one year, with students taking on a role equivalent to that of a healthcare assistant.
Such a proposal is likely to receive a mixed response from the profession, potentially sparking concerns about its impact on recruitment.
The response also sets out plans to introduce value-based recruitment to nursing courses and the development of widely-used aptitude tests.
Full details are expected in the full response to the Francis report later today, though the policy was trailed in the national press this morning.
In a statement, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Frontline, hands-on caring experience and values need to be equal with academic training.
“These measures are about recruiting all staff with the right values and giving them the training they need to do their job properly, so that patients are treated with compassion.”
Another measure expected to be announced is that hospitals and other healthcare providers, such as GP practices, will be subject to a statutory duty of candour.
Among the other topics likely to be covered by the response are HCA regulation, supernumerary status for ward managers, minimum nurse staffing levels and nursing older patients.
Nursing Times will be reporting live on the government’s response to the Francis report’s 290 recommmendations, following its publication.
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