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”.