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Conservatives: HCAs part of nursing 'profession'


The Conservatives have confirmed their support of graduate level entry for registered nurses and clarified their definition of “nursing” to include HCAs.

The party was under growing pressure to clarify its position after shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley told Nursing Times that degrees should not be “an entry requirement to the profession.”

Shadow health minister Anne Milton then appeared to contradict Mr Lansley’s announcement by telling Nursing Times there was “no doubt” that registered nurses needed degrees.

This week the Tories said Mr Lansley’s definition of “nursing profession” included healthcare assistants.

A spokesman said: “These people provide care for patients in a nursing fashion and that’s part of the wider terminology of nursing.”

“Some nurses will start out in these roles and they can still then take the training to become a registered nurse, but in order to become registered nurses will need to have a degree,” he said.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is currently running a consultation on the future of pre registration nurse education. The profession is due to become graduate only entry by 2013.


Readers' comments (16)

  • I too began my nursing career as an auxiliary in Nov 77. Interview 3pm with matron/nursing officer. Uniform dept 4:30pm taken personally by matron! Kitted out and on the ward 5pm!! Induction? what was that then? Still here, now trained and management, but remember well being asked for info re a patient's leg ulcer status as Sister had not seen it for weeks personally. I always acknowledge HCA's as I know when they wore pink it was invisible to anyone in blue or a suit (unless upto date info was required). I do however think changing uniforms to make them "part of the blue team" makes them appear unhelpful sometimes when asked "technical" questions by the public - who assume they should know the answer as their level of training is not really clear. Well done you HCA's the wards simply would not run without you.

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  • Instead of moaning about having to monitor the work of HCAs, we should be thinking of a way of introducing some kind of formal training for them.

    Opps! silly me that would mean paying them more......!

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  • I agree with Leeann above, I think that acknowledging the value that HCA's bring to the team is vital and not spoken anywhere near enough. I also think supporting their learning in a structired, formalised and non-threatening environment is vital. This will lead to a more skilled and functional team and yes, they need to be paid according to that level of learning and achievement.

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  • Out with your wallet Mr Lansley!!

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  • I am a student nurse and was a hca a few years ago, im sorry but there is a very big difference between a hca and a nurse. Im working dame hard to become a nurse and i found the comment on here about that nurses can not run the wards without a hca or even more insulting that we couldnt write a care plann with out a HCA!!!!!! excuse me but does a hca have all the underpinning knowledge to know what goes in to a care plan? no i dont think thay do, yet againe it goes back to them an us, we are suppose to work as a TEAM so why do people get confused of thier roles on the ward? I would suggest to people who are saying thay can do what the nurse does dont just say it go to university and become a nurse!

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  • I stumbled across this article accidently whilst looking for something else.

    The feeling of consternation was so great at reading the above post, that I simply had to register and reply.

    Swap HCA with nurse 'practitioner', and nurse for doctor, and you'll understand exactly how we (I'm a medic) feel about nurses who attempt to prescribe and diagnose.

    Get off your pedestals

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