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'Trusts and universities need more cooperation'


Education and training must change to ensure we produce nurses able to provide care in the way the public will expect in the future.

Our story on page 3 highlights concerns expressed by senior nurses that student nurses are not being trained appropriately to provide care across more integrated care settings. They say universities must work closely with providers to ensure undergraduates meet future health service users’ expectations. As the proportion of healthcare provided in the community grows, this failing will become increasingly serious.

There has been much debate about whether nurse education was better when it was “less academic” and “more practical”. This, to my mind, isn’t the issue. Education should include an academic component. Nurses need to be taught theory to support their skills and competence as the complexity of their role and patients’ needs grow. However, they should also be trained in close partnership with local NHS and private healthcare providers to ensure they understand what patients and service users want.

A change in how nurses are educated and approach their roles gives them a huge opportunity to take the lead in delivering high-quality, integrated care. Qualified and student nurses work closely with patients, and understand and respond to their feedback, which gives them an insight most health professionals don’t have. Couple this with advancing technology and a desire for efficiency savings, and nursing is in a prime position to use this changing landscape to articulate its contribution to healthcare.

On a recent visit to Nottingham University Hospitals Trust I was impressed with how this was achieved - the trust and university work closely so student nurses’ learning experiences reflect the needs of the provider. When they qualify, nurses have the skills and competencies that fit roles at NUH. The trust has also set up a newly qualified forum to harness the energy and objective ideas of new nurses for quality improvements and service innovations. At NUH, nursing leads the conversation about change.

Too often, other professions, government ministers and the  media rush in to declare what nursing needs. Nursing has allowed that and given power away. This needs to change because the only real experts in nursing are nurses themselves.

Jenni Middleton, editor

Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed


Readers' comments (2)

  • Claire Murdoch, chief executive of Central and North West London FT, said the NHS had taken a battering and needed to explain better the amazing job opportunities with good salaries and career progression it offered. “We have to stop talking about it as if it was tired, broken and demoralised,” she added.

    But Ms Murdoch expressed concern over nurse training. “My organisation turns away between 40 and 60 per cent of band five nurses we interview,” she said, because they were not numerate, literate or compassionate enough.“I don’t think we have got the training right.”

    The trust put all band five nurses through a day long assessment before they were recruited, she explained. “We won’t lower the bar. You must be numerate and literate.”

    Between 40 and 60 per cent of the applicants (predominately drawn from nine universities) did not pass the assessment and were not fit to practise at that point, she said.

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  • we need politicans to work on the wards as health care assistants or domestics for longer than an occasional visit with their sleeves rolled up implying they are actually doing anything

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