Health minister Ann Keen has accused media commentators of sexism following yesterday’s coverage about nursing becoming a all-graduate profession.
Ms Keen launched a strongly worded attack on commentators who said nurses did not need degrees and should instead focus on “caring”, saying she believed the comments were motivated by sexism.
Speaking to the Chief Nursing Office summit in Newcastle yesterday she said: “I have really had enough of this. When do you stop? Do we need to go to school? Do not let them get away with patronising us.”
She told Nursing Times the perception would not be the same if nurses were not mainly female. She said: “This is a personal view. We are predominantly a female profession and I wonder about the status of nursing had it been all men. It is about ‘women’s work’.”
Nursing academics also added their weight to support for the move to all-graduate entry.
Council of Deans of Health chair Sue Bernhauser said: “We have strongly supported proposals for all nurses to be educated to degree level.
“Preparation at graduate level will be essential for new professionals to meet the future requirements and expectations in relation to the complexity and intensity of their roles, together with the need to extend and expand roles to reflect changes in patterns of healthcare delivery. Ultimately this move will help to continue and secure a dynamic and progressive workforce and a high quality of care for service users,” she added.
Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, head of the Florence Nightingale school of nursing and midwifery at King’s College London, said: “Research demonstrates that better educated nurses deliver higher quality care than less well prepared nurses.
“We need to raise our game if we are to raise standards of care. Education is the only way to do this.”
Do you agree with Ann Keen?