Children and young people’s nursing is “more than just a speciality” of the profession and could require a “radical” change to the way the role is trained, national workforce body Health Education England has been told.
As part of a wider shake-up of education for all nurses, HEE’s director of nursing Lisa Bayliss-Pratt said it was looking at whether training to work with children should lead to just one nursing role covering ages 0-19.
“Do we need health visitors, and practice nurses looking after children and adults? Or actually do we need a 0-19 child health worker?”
This would be instead of the multiple types of nurses that currently come into contact with children and young people across different care settings and ages, and whom have varying degrees of training.
Ms Bayliss-Pratt was speaking at an HEE board meeting this week, as part of an update on engagement work following a major review of nursing education and training it commissioned earlier this year, called the Shape of Caring review.
“The areas where people want to learn more is very much around children and young people and what does it mean if you want to work in child health,” she said.
“Do we really want to be radical – do we need health visitors, and practice nurses looking after children and adults? Or actually do we need a 0-19 child health worker?…There is more work to do in that field,” she added.
She later told Nursing Times that during its engagement work with nurses, educators, employers and others about changes to training, HEE had been told children’s nursing was “more than just a speciality” of nursing.
Senior HCA ‘bridging’ role will be piloted next year
The Shape of Caring Review recommended that nurses should receive two years of general training before specialising in a particular area – currently either adult, children’s, learning disability or mental health – in the third year of their degree.
But in HEE board papers, it was noted there was “some strong advocacy” for continuing with the current three-year specialist degree model for those wanting to become children’s nurses – and also for learning disability and mental health student nurses.
At the meeting, HEE formally accepted all 34 recommendations made by the Shape of Caring Review.
As revealed by Nursing Times, the body has already begun making plans to introduce some of the recommendations.
Next year, HEE will pilot a “bridging role” that sits between lower band health and care assistants and degree-trained nurses.
As part of this, HEE will look at how those who have trained in this new role can then go on to complete undergraduate nurse training in less time than the standard three years.
Meanwhile, Nursing Times also recently revealed that government plans to introduce this role – referred to by some as an “associate nurse” – will be launched in the coming weeks.