There is to be a major review into the standard of nurse education programmes in eastern England, after questions were raised about the quality and consistency of those currently on offer.
A report setting out plans for the review described the courses being commissioned at present as varying in “content, quality and focus”.
The review will examine pre-registration training for nurses at six universities across the region, covering 23 courses and an estimated 4,500 students.
It is being carried out by Health Education England’s regional board for the east of the country.
HEE East of England stated that it needed to assure itself that programmes met healthcare requirements “now and also in the future”, so that nursing staff delivered the “fundamental requirements” of high-quality nursing care, integrated with essential person-centred care and high-level technical skills.
The board said its review would be led by an independent chair and would consult with trust chief executives as well as representatives from the education sector and wider healthcare workforce.
Jenny McGuinness, head of education and commissioning at HEE East of England, described the review as “an opportunity for the providers of healthcare in the east of England to take a fundamental look at the way we educate our nurses for the future”.
It aimed to help providers “develop an education model that is innovative and prepares our nurses to work in a changing healthcare sector delivering NHS commissioned care”, she added.
Jackie Kelly, head of nursing at the University of Hertfordshire, said it was “very much engaged” with the review. “As a nursing body we have looked at pre-registration nurse education and new standards were agreed in 2010,” she said.
“A lot of what we needed to look at, we have already gone a long way to do. Providers won’t have seen the output from that yet. This doesn’t mean we should sit on our laurels and not ask ourselves questions,” she added.
As reported by Nursing Times last week, HEE itself has commissioned a separate, national review − to be led by Lord Willis − of both pre- and post-registration standards of nurse education across the country.
A report on the east of England review’s findings is expected in the autumn. It will feed into the national work.
East of England nurse education in figures:
Pre-registration places commissioned
Pre-registration courses commissioned in the eastern region
Number of educational institutions commissioned
Annual programme cost
Information supplied to HSJ