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Listen Up

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Who is really benefiting from extended nursing roles?

For a while now, we have been able to complete a degree in nursing or a more specific course in our area of expertise, for example mental health.

Why? I have a diploma in mental health nursing, and I’d like to know what information I missed out on by not continuing to complete my degree. Am I under-educated and therefore unfit to work with people with mental illness? Is a graduate more knowledgeable than me and do I need to be mentored by one each time I work?

So, why do some of us take the degree route, either pre- or post-registration? Is it to forward our careers? Increase our knowledge? Pave the way into management? Or is it just to prove to ourselves that we can? Whatever the reason, I wish those doing it all the best.

My feelings here, however, are not specific to degrees. I have some issues about other courses that nurses are being encouraged to do.

I can’t help thinking the government is moving things around to sort out their problems of staffing in the NHS.

From what I can see, nurses are increasing their scope of abilities upwards, into what were traditionally doctors’ tasks, such as prescribing. And subsequently, HCAs have moved up to take over some tasks, such as physical observations, from nurses.

Now, I’m not saying either of these groups is incapable of carrying out these modified role but I have the impression the goalposts are being moved to ease the burden on doctors who are under pressure.

And, funnily enough, nurses are cheaper too.

It’s no real wonder nursing is in a state in the UK. We complain about being overstretched and then we learn how to do more tasks to take on. It doesn’t sound right to me.

Colin King, agency registered mental health nurse, Swindon

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