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Expert issues warning over education funding for future neuroscience nurses

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There are “serious concerns” for the education of future neuroscience nurses, a senior lecturer from the specialty has warned.

A range of factors, including trust funding and the financial viability of running courses on the subject, are to blame, according to a senior lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University.

“We are really short of neuro nurse education in this country”

Ruth Trout

Senior lecturer in acute care Ruth Trout, who is also board member of the British Association of Neuroscience Nurses (BANN), said: “We are really short of neuro nurse education in this country.

“This is partly because the speciality is small, so cohorts of students are similarly small, making courses financially unviable from the education providers perspective,” she said.

“Plus, neuro has traditionally often been seen as the poor relation when funding is allocated from trusts, with mentoring or leadership courses, for example, being given priority, she noted.

Ms Trout said her own research suggested that globally as few as 30% of neuro nurses currently working have formal education in the discipline, with many “effectively learning on the job”.

Bucks New University/BANN

Warning over education funding for future neuroscience nurses

Ruth Trout

“This may not be a reflection of UK figures and there is further study to be done on this, as it may not be the whole picture,” she noted.

Ms Trout also highlighted that she was not questioning the “professionalism or the fantastic job neuro nurses do under difficult circumstances”.

“But even within the current constrained financial environment, authorities should pay greater heed to the particular skills required for the role and consider allocation of more funding,” she said.

Her warning comes ahead of the 2017 BANN conference, which is being held at the weekend in Oxford and that she helped organise.

The conference theme is ‘Putting our heads together: seamless care from crisis to community’, with the community focus seen as particularly important as more patients are being treated at home.

It is also focusing on issues including challenges of the multi-generational workforce, hyper acute stroke care and advances in neuromodulation technology for intractable headache.

More than 130 nurses working in neurosciences are set to attend the 46th annual conference for the organisation, which is affiliated to the World Federation of Neurosurgical Nurses.

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