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Plan to map high-flyers' careers from pre-qualification to consultant level


Nurses’ careers would be mapped out from pre-qualification through to staff nursing and consultant level, under a training programme planned by an alliance of hospitals and universities in London and the South East.

The scheme led by University College London Partners would see a training and placement system more like doctors’ careers, with high-flyers identified in the third-year of a course and moving to specified posts with employers afterwards.

The programme aims to match top students with job vacancies in the 18 partner trusts, with the partnership supporting them as they progress through their careers.

Meanwhile, participants will identify staff nurses ready to become charge nurses and develop the skills of existing charge nurses.

Participants include University College London Hospitals and Moorfields Eye Hospital foundation trusts; and North Middlesex University Hospital, Barts and the London, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Royal Free Hampstead trusts.

Groups of trusts and universities like UCLP are likely to inherit the workforce planning and training responsibilities held by strategic health authorities, which are due to be abolished.

UCLH chief nurse Katherine Fenton said the programme intended to create a more structured career pathway for nurses.

She told Nursing Times: “I don’t think we engage with talent in nursing as much as we could do. The career structure is very hit-and-miss here, not as structured as it is abroad.

“Australia and New Zealand have very clear clinical and academic benchmarks for nurses as they make their way through their career.”

Professor Fenton, who also lectures at London South Bank University, said the programme also sought to further develop the skills of existing ward sisters and pick out undergraduate management talent.

She said: “We started from the point that we had to do something fairly radical because the public‘s opinion of nurses is not what it should be.”

A briefing document said participants would aim to address concerns that charge nurses needed “additional skills in safety, quality management and improvement”.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Whilst I think there will be a bit of tinkering needed with the plans, I think on the whole this is an excellent idea and something that has been needed for a long, long time!

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  • Good idea in theory, but why not use appraisals to identify and encourage the skills already present. You don`t become a nurse until you have qualified and the decision making and responsibilty is down to you.
    The attitude is still very much who you know not what you know that will get you the post .

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  • Anonymous | 7-Nov-2011 12:16 pm you are right, it is still who you know... hopefully this will hel[p change that. Nursing needs a structured career path like this, with a variety of clinical posts at the highest levels.

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  • Little One

    Structured career path, brilliant, identifying 'high fliers' whilst still at University? I don't think it's such a good plan. My Mum really struggled through her diploma when she trained in the 80s but is now ready to become a Nurse Consultant after completing a BSc, starting her Masters and passing her course to become an Independent Prescriber.

    A high proportion of students entering into Nursing are dyslexic and I think it would disadvantage these students who may struggle with assignments etc but will make brilliant Nurses and deserve the chance to be 'high fliers' too.

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  • Good point little one, I don't think it is advantageous - as you say- to pick out staff so early, many Nurses don't shine until they get onto the wards, even the wards of their specific expertise/choosing sometimes. I think it would be more helpful to have this defined career path, with a variety of roles available are available to anyone and everyone who gains the further quals needed.

    The most important thing I think is to actually have the roles available and enshrined on the wards. I mean look at how many newly qualified or band 5 staff Nurses are struggling to find work at the moment? How are we going to have this progression if job freezes take all the advanced roles away?

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