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This week's news summary:

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Nursing associates are back in the news this week as our exclusive interview with Health Education England’s director of nursing suggests there is a “strong appetite” for the new role. Last year we revealed there were plans to introduce the ‘bridging’ role between healthcare assistants and qualified nurses, which were later confirmed by government.

Also in the news:

Would you forego contributing to your pension in return for better pay today?Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust has defended a controversial pay deal aimed at attracting agency nurses, which means band 5 nurses can earn more if they opt out of the NHS Pension Scheme.

Last week we reported on the 1% pay increase that NHS staff can expect this April. A new pay circular has now been released explaining what the 1% means for you if you are on an Agenda for Change pay band. The comments on this story and on our Facebook page show the strength of feeling that 1% is a long way from a fair pay rise.

The weak point of nurse education? An independent commission has highlighted concerns that healthcare students do not always have opportunity to give or receive feedback during their placement. It found feedback is often given only at the end of the placement meaning students do not have a chance to improve. The real-life practice students observe on placement undermines the theory they have been taught, the commission found.

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