Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

'I vote that nurses celebrate all that is good about student training'


Ever thought (or worse told) a student that training was better/tougher/more useful in your days as a trainee nurse?

It’s not a terribly helpful thing to hear as a soon-to-be nurse that what you’re giving your all to still isn’t going to make you good enough to practise. And yet many post-registration nurses continue to reside in a world of yesteryear and fail to congratulate and reassure student nurses.

It’s not helpful to the students, the public or the media to constantly hear this message that “Things were better in my day when…”

So I vote that nurses stop it and celebrate all that is good about student training.

That’s exactly what we did last week when we hosted the first-ever Student Nursing Times Awards. We gathered together the best students across adult, mental health, learning disabilities and children’s disciplines, the finest lecturers, the worthiest higher education institutes and most inspiring placements andmentors.

After weeks of rigorous judging involving applications, testimonials, voting and panel interviews, the ten winners of our inaugural Student Nursing Times Awards were unveiled at a glitzy ceremony in London’s The Grange Hotel in St Paul’s.

You can read the full list of finalists and winners here.

Our congratulations to them all.

We were overwhelmed afterwards by just how delighted students and their mentors and lecturers were just to attend the event.  For many, the defining thing about their student experience has been feelings of exclusion, rather than inclusion. Reading the feedback from attendees struck me how undervalued this group ofpeople are. We should be telling them all the time how fantastic they are – not just annually at an awards ceremony after a few glasses of champagne.

The feedback from the audience was that they never get made to feel important, and that this event did wonders for their confidence, as well as making students understand the value of a good mentor for when they take over this role later in their careers.

The audience was addressed by chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing Dr Peter Carter and England’s next chief nursing officer Jane Cummings, who both inspired the attendees and instilled in them a sense of pride for the profession.

That is what all nurses should be doing – ensuring students feel great about the choice they’ve made and have the confidence and support to continue. Fail to deliver that – and you set students up to fail at becoming a good nurse. 


Readers' comments (26)

  • I know a first year student at a local university who is shortly off to Thailand for a 4 week elective.
    Two things come to mind here:
    What does a first year learner have to offer the environment she is going to?
    How will she disseminate what she learns from her elective to the greater nursing population?

    Yes, I'm old enough to have trained "conventionally", and for it to have been almost totally hands on. No electives in my day & age, & if there were I would have chosen an elective that was likely to help my career pathway on qualification.

    I've known many outstanding student, & mentors, & have been a mentor in previous jobs, although not currently.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • people who gain experience from working and living abroad have infinite resources to bring back to the UK and to the NHS whatever level they are at if their experiences and new ideas from contact with different cultures and other ways of working are listened to and welcomed.

    In exchange, what they have to offer is themselves, their own experiences, their openness and willingness to listen and to learn, their ability to care with compassion for people as individuals no matter who they are, where they come from and what language they speak.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We (the older generation of nurses), tell students that our training was better, simply because it was. I have yet to see a student nurse in the ward situation who is confident with their work - and I believe this is due to them spending insufficient time in the clinical arena, with patients. First line qualifications should be obtained with a combination of theory and practice, as ours were - and degree courses made available as a post-graduate option for those who wish to continue their education.
    This is the route I followed and I felt a degree enabled me to build on the knowledge I had already gained in the clinical situation

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I did my nurse training employed by the hospital I trained at and it was very much hands on associated with the theory learnt at the training school and have accepted the changes throughout the many years as progress, and also that change is not to be feared. I am sure that we all have something valuable to give to support each other no matter how or when we qualified, and to ensure we move with the times.
    I was fortunate to have an excellent Clinical Tutor and learnt a lot from her about how to mentor others as I moved on with my career but, still developed skills to suit individuals needs in their learning.
    I have to admit to reminiscing about my training days which I thought was the best for me but, have also learnt a great deal from both students and other healthcare professionals along the way, so thank you. (Oh! and I am still learning)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Totally agree with Anonymous 1.30 p.m.. Couldn't have put it better. But it doesn't stop me offering all the support I can give to help them into their new role.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • New students can bring enthusiasm, compassion, empathy, intelligence with them. Not quantifiable but desperately needed!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nursing has changed so much its only right that the way in which we educate our students changes too.
    There are merits to both but the courses of today require a totally new type of discipline and therefore Students who enter into today's Nurse Education should understand the reality of what they are to undertake.Nursing is not a one size fits all

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nurse training: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: In no particular order:

    Learning to talk to patients (they are fellow humans who just happen to be in hospital);
    Learning to administer medication without killing anyone;
    Learning how to control one's temper/emotions when being patronised, insulted, ridiculed, ignored or otherwise abused by qualified nurses, HCAs and assorted hospital staff;
    Crying in the sluice (see above);
    Feeling the satisfaction gained from making a patient feel safe and comfortable;
    Observing something that employed staff have not (a suspected thrombosis in my case) because you have more time to do so;
    Being asked "are you an angel?" by a patient in recovery;
    Being sworn at by a patient who sounded and looked a lot like Father Jack! That was funny.
    Giving a patient a bed-bath who was covered in his own faeces (not as bad as it sounds);
    Following a patient from operation through to discharge and writing it up afterwards;
    Walking to the bus stop at the crack of dawn - definitely one counts as Bad!
    Listening to your mentor singing as she worked;
    Learning the art of the bed-bath;
    Knowing that your patients' welfare is in your hands - scary and rewarding all at the same time.
    Your first aseptic dressing - trying to get the gloves on properly is half the battle!
    A needle stick injury (waiting for the blood test result is scary);
    Getting bronchitis during your final placement whilst also studying for your exams;
    Being told second hand by the tutor that the nurses on the ward said that you "think differently" than other people.
    Being told by your so called mentor (not the singing one) that you ought to rethink becoming a nurse and then on your next placement nursing one of their family members;
    Accompanying a patient to another hospital and being terrified that he might have a cardiac arrest on the way.
    Basically a roller coaster ride of fear, resentment, hope, but overall immense satisfaction when you get things "right" and get positive feedback from patients.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • with all the changes and new ways of thinking and methods which students have access to nurses at all levels also have a lot to learn from them. Openness on both sides is needed.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Little One

    Anonymous | 8-May-2012 1:30 pm

    "We (the older generation of nurses), tell students that our training was better, simply because it was."

    And this, on a thread supposedly encouraging and promoting all that is good about current nurse training. It's really quite insulting and upsetting to read, and be told, over and over again, that your training is "inadequate" or "worse than previous training" when it is not worse, it is not inadequate, it is just different.

    "I have yet to see a student nurse in the ward situation who is confident with their work - and I believe this is due to them spending insufficient time in the clinical arena, with patients."

    So as a student you NEVER felt overwhelmed? Not only has the role of a nurse vastly changed since my mother qualified in the 80s but what we are supposed to be competant and confident in before qualification is, in some instances, much more complex than previously expected of students. I am confident in my work. I am a third year student nurse. I am confident in my ability to provide basic nursing care to my patients and I am becoming more confident in more complex clinical skills. I think it is a bit of a stretch, and quite rude, to say that you have "never" seen a student nurse who is confident in their own abilities. If your attitude is as it has been represented here, it would not surprise me if you yourself are filling students with doubt and not helping to build their confidence.

    "First line qualifications should be obtained with a combination of theory and practice, as ours were -"

    And as ours are! What do you think we do exactly as our training? Over half of our time is spent working in various clinical areas.

    "and degree courses made available as a post-graduate option for those who wish to continue their education."

    Which was the case up until this year, so all of those student nurses that you have just put down with your disparaging remarks were probably, mostly trained with a DipHE Nursing, to go on to do a Degree following qualification. The benefits of Degree only training is a different debate but many of the Degree trained Nurses at University are brilliant.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 102050results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs