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.
More from: Pledge to restore public trust in nursing
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.
Campaign needed to tackle negative public views of the profession