Exclusive: student opinion divided over need to work as HCA
Student nurses are divided on whether they should be required to undertake work as a healthcare assistant for up to a year before starting their degrees.
The controversial plan was one of the key announcements made by the government last month in its initial response to the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry report. The idea had drawn largely unfavourable responses from nurse commentators and unions.
However, our survey of over 1,400 nursing students found that 42% “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that it was a good idea, while 42% also “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed”, saying it was a bad idea. The remaining 16% described themselves as “neutral”.
When asked whether having to work as an HCA first would have affected their decision to study nursing, 55% said it would not have made a difference and they would have still started their course.
26% said “they might have thought twice” and 19% said they would not have opted not to start their course.
However, 49% of survey respondents said they believed the government was “blaming” student nurses for the NHS system’s failings by suggesting they should work as an HCA as a year before starting courses.
As previously revealed by Nursing Times, Health Education England hopes to have pilot schemes in place by autumn.
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