Just how much support are nurses able to give those who are new to the profession or have less experience than them? The handing on of vital skills and expertise is essential to any profession, but particularly one where hands-on experience is paramount.
Many nurses complain their coaching time is diluted by administrative pressures, efficiency targets and financial constraints. And that means their insights and learnings are being lost before they reach the next generation of nurses.
Last week chief nursing officer Dame Christine Beasley told me the profession and public are critical of newly qualified nurses. Many believe they should emerge from university with the ability to do their jobs as experts. This expectation is not something you see in other professions. How often is a newly qualified lawyer given a high-profile murder trial? When does a new accountant take on the firm’s biggest client? When does a teacher go straight from graduation to teach at the best school in the country?
Watching their peers navigate such complexities enables professionals to learn the skills of their chosen “trade” and take on these challenges in later years. And so it should be in nursing too. Not just for the newly qualified nurses, but also for the healthcare assistants who are providing more and more frontline care.
Both of these groups need insight and continuing professional development from the nurses they work with every day. Trusts need to ensure time is allocated so brilliance can be passed on. Without it, standards of nursing care will only worsen.
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Jenni Middleton, editor
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