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Campaign needed to tackle negative public views of the profession


The nursing profession must move to a position where it can select the highest calibre graduates, the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery is expected to say.

The commission’s draft recommendations say the policy that nursing will become a graduate-only entry profession by 2013 “must be implemented in full”. The commission has been surprised how critical the English press has been of the move - particularly since the policy has been implemented elsewhere in the UK with little fuss.

It is expected to use its final report to try to challenge negative perceptions by underlining that nursing is demanding work that requires a high level of technical skill amid emotionally charged atmospheres.

But the commission will argue that a marketing campaign – akin to the one for teaching – should be used to raise public awareness of nursing as a graduate calibre profession.

That reflects the commission’s desire for the nursing profession to be able to have the pick of the best candidates, rather than accept all comers.

The commission believes this goal needs to be pursued through the twin track of keeping the entry gate to degree courses as wide as possible and raising the status of nursing as a graduate profession, to enable it to compete for undergraduates with other degree courses.

A Department of Health source told Nursing Times the desire to raise the status of nursing as a profession was one the commission had to balance against calls for a “national uniform” for nurses and a streamlining of nurse job titles, to tackle public confusion around roles and authority.

It was felt standardisation could detract from attempts to promote nursing as a profession that offered diverse opportunities, from advanced clinical practice, to research, to management. However, the commission will recommend that the “confusing proliferation” of job titles is reviewed “with a view to reduce and standardising them”.

A recruitment campaign for nursing was one of the ideas originally mooted to be on the commission’s agenda by sources close to the prime minister when it was first created, as revealed by Nursing Times.



Readers' comments (5)

  • Call me old fashioned if you like but until there is more discipline instilled into nurse education by lecturers, teachers and senior nursing staff in the way they conducyt themselves student going throuigh training will not realise how to act as professionals.
    I am aware of sloppy time keeping, lectures being cancelled, venues being changed at short notice, no genuine register of attendance at lectures (students signing for absent colleagues), unclear hierachy, nurses unkempt and inappropriate use of language etc etc.
    Get back to basics before its too late.

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  • The above comment is very pertinent. As a recent (mature) graduate I was continually frustrated by the inconsistancy of lecturers with regard to infringements of the students' Code of Conduct. Regulations regarding attendance at lectures were very clear as per the percentage of hours required, but registers were left to the responsibility of student volunteers and these requirements of attendance were often flouted and nothing said. Hand-in dates for work were treated as unimportant by some with extentions a regular occurance rather than something to be granted in exceptional circumstances. As someone who recognised the professional nature of my training, for my professional career, I found this saddening, frustrating and, I suppose, unfair on those who took their role seriously.

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  • If they want nursing to be seen as a profession then stop making us jump through hoops just to get things ticked off. For eaxmple the arithmetic test ( maths gives it too much grandeur ). Either medical practitioners have to do the test as well or neither have to. Medical Practitoners should also have to follow the KSF rigidly.
    Like teaching, nursing is playing catch up with the other professions by introducing unnecessary dot to dot, hoop jumping exercises to 'prove' that a person can do the job, i.e. they are micromanaged.

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  • Seems to me that the hoops are not held high enough and are so big anybody could walk through them! unfortunately the nursing selection process is generally about whether the student can cope with the academic work rather than is this person employable as a nurse!

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  • I agree with the above comment. There are many people working in the caring profession who would make excellent nurses but because of their academic ability they rarely make it past the first hurdle - the selection process!

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