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Motion moves to protect nursing diploma


UNISON will fight to protect nurse training following a motion carried unanimously at its health conference in Harrogate.

The composite motion, proposed by the National Nursing Sector and Sussex Community and Mental Health Branch, warned that the planned abolition of the nursing diploma could create an elitist profession.

It also warns that the move towards a degree-only profession could reduce the number of nursing in training, which could reduce the numbers of nurses in the workforce in the long term.

The motion also raises concerns that nurses will eventually have a supervisory role where they will merely oversee the work of unregistered colleagues.

Dwindling student numbers could lead to redundancies among nurse trainers and the closure of courses, the motion argues.

Christine Sullivan, of the Liverpool branch, said: ‘We can’t afford to let our profession slip away. We need investment in our education.

‘Just because you don’t have a degree doesn’t make you less of a nurse. We have to make sure that nursing not is turned into the preserve of academics.’

Peter Atkinson, Sussex Community and Mental Health Branch, said:  ‘We need to protect the interests of our student nurses. Our nursing workforce must reflect the society it cares for. We must resist attempts to dilute the skill mix of staff.’

UNISON will now seek an agreed exit point for nurses who do not obtain degrees and alert the government to its concerns about the consequences of an all-graduate profession.

It will also resist attempts to dilute nursing skill mix away from safe levels of registered nurses, defend the jobs of nurses and nurse educators working in higher education and raise its concerns with the Council of Deans of Health.


Should the nursing diploma be abolished?

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Readers' comments (5)

  • I think nursing should be an all graduate profession because the profession is not highly rated by other professions in the health care currently and poorly paid, un attractive.

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  • I disagree. The diploma offers another way of learning, that is more flexible and less pressured. I'm not sure I could manage a full time degree, plus several full time placements, plus coursework when not working AND bank shifts to prop up any's just not viable to lessen the choice. If you take away the diploma option you're also taking away the bursary, which, even thought it is not enough, makes some difference to mature students seeking a long term career.

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  • I would be really gutted to find out that they have taken away the diploma because i have been offered a place on the diploma course for nursing and see this as my way forward into nursing. i have a young child so need the bursary so i need all the help i can. this would be a silly idea as i dont think ppl would opt for nursing

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  • I am in the final months of my nursing degree (child field). For the first 2 years I took the diploma route (same course as degree route colleagues) with full non-means tested bursary. With good results from my study I decided to transfer to the degree for my final year. It cost me nearly £3000 of income and the dissertation I was required to complete for Honours was very stressfull. I questioned my decision to transfer more than once. The current drive for nurses as leaders and managers seems worthy but is not for everyone. I am just about to turn 50 and wish my remaining career (if I can find a job) to be nursing: hands-on patient care with no desire whatsoever to be a manager. Many of my best mentors have been diploma trained nurses who, with experience, have progressed to leadership roles and have stated they did not want to do a degree because of the debt and the stress. The diploma should remain with a final year option to transfer to degree for those with managerial asperations. All courses should be adequately funded.

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  • I believe that the diploma should continue until the time that the government commits to providing a reasonable bursary for all nursing and midwifery students. It is heartbreaking to see students struggling to balance their academic and clinical requirements whilst also holding down part time jobs to survive. There are many exellent nurses and midwives in post who hold a diploma, and many more who have self funded their degree following registration when they are in a position to pay for their ongoing education specific to the field in which they are practicing, and without incurring substantial debts.

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