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Quarter of NHS nurses and HCAs prepared to ‘pay for own training’

A quarter of NHS nurses and HCAs are ‘strongly considering’ spending their own money to attend training courses.

Exclusive, Nursing Times reporters

A Nursing Times survey of 2,500 nurses and HCAs paints a picture of professionals committed to developing their skills and career – a significant number of whom are thinking of funding this out of their own pocket.

HCAs were more likely to be considering such a move, the survey showed, with two-thirds in bands 1–4 ‘agreeing’ or ‘strongly agreeing’ that they were prepared to spend their own money on training.

However, half of those on bands 5 and 6 were also thinking of putting their hands in their own pockets to finance training.

The survey also revealed that those working in care homes and nursing homes were five times more likely than those in acute settings to pay for training themselves.

Frank Ursell, chief executive of the Registered Nursing Home Association, said: ‘I am not surprised nurses [in care homes] are willing to do this – they take their CPD very seriously.’

Linda Nazarko, nurse consultant for older people at Ealing PCT, added that training access remained a problem in some areas, following the well-documented raiding of training funds by trusts in recent years.

Nursing Times revealed last year, as part of its successful Time Out for Training campaign, that a total of £165m had been raided from training budgets in 2007–2008.

The survey also suggests the majority of nurses have high career aspirations within the profession. Two thirds said they either ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘slightly agreed’ that promotion was important to them.

Yet despite this commitment to career development just over 20% said they were seriously thinking of leaving the nursing profession. This trend was higher among nurses in bands 5 and 6 than those in lower and higher bands.

Rachel Binks, chair of the RCN critical care forum, suggested this was likely to be the result of the current winter pressures on nurses, particularly in the health service.

‘It is really stressful and you have not got enough nurses on the wards. You end up leaving work feeling dissatisfied, you know you have not done as good a job as you could have done.’

The survey revealed that, overall, 88% of respondents said they considered nursing to be a ‘career and not just a job’ compared with a meagre 3.6% who saw it merely as a job.

Additionally, the survey reveals that nursing is often a vocation chosen at an early age. More than half of respondents said ‘I wanted to be a nurse when I was young’.


Readers' comments (4)

  • I am interested in the fact that so many nurses were keen to take on the job from an early age. Do nurses feel that they have made a financial sacrifice to follow their career?
    I ask as the Director of the benevolent fund NurseAid which offers financial support to nurses facing hardship.

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  • In the interests of high standards of care and encouraging nurses to stay in the profession, there most certainly should be some financial support for them for professional development.
    For many people taking on nursing as a career, often they find that their childhood notion of nursing and the realities are very different. This may explain why they leave nursing and suggests that career advice or doing research into what nursing today involves is very important.

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  • Nurses have always sacrificed not just their financial situation but also their time as well as personal commitments to ensure the care provided is the best as they could possibly give. I recently completed a 2 year study which cost £3000. This was part funded by the Nightingale Council and part funded by myself. The course required me to work at least 20 hours a week (to which I was already employed full time ) I had to study at home which was very stressfull as I had a young family and had no study days at work. I am left feeling I have sacrificed and missed out on 2 years of my family. All this to try and develop my career. I applied for a job recently to be told the job wasn't available because of restructuring within the NHS. The campaign is all well and good but will it be adhered to. Study days are meant to be given to staff for training at the moment and this certainly hasn't happened during my employment.

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  • I have made huge financial and personal sacrifices since becoming a nurse and paid fo almost all my training and updates myself. This was to ensure that I could provide professional, quality care for my patients and develop myself within my career choice.
    It is wrong to expect nurses to do this or to relay on charitable or benevolent funds in order to acheive what should be provided as part of our work.

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