Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


'Allocate time to pass on your nursing insights'


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.

Check out, our new online package featuring our archive of over 4,000 double-blind peer-reviewed clinical articles, study tips, job guidance, finance and wellbeing information and advice on getting the most out of your placement.

Take a look now at and subscribe for just 70p a week.

Jenni Middleton, editor Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed

Editor direct
Chat live with the editor and other nurses about this issue at every Wednesday at 1pm about this column.

We have a NEW website just for student nurses, with everything from the usual site at a discounted price plus more. Take a look now at and subscribe for just 70p a week.


Readers' comments (6)

  • I absolutely agree, teaching, both informally and formally is part of a Nurses role and an essential part of supporting both students and newly qualified Nurses.

    However, why aren't we given the time, support and staffing levels to be able to do this?

    It is easy to say 'allocate your time...' We do already. But there is precious little time left to do so.

    Why not put a headline out for those in charge 'give staff the numbers and resources they need so they can allocate their time ...'

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We were at a meeting today and were asked to jot ideas down on how to achieve more with less time and resourses! Says it all about nursing nowadays!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We've said that for years Kate, how can we do more with less - well it's happening now. I agree Mike, we need to teach the next generation of nurses, because these are the people who will be looking after us when we get ill. We must invest in our future through education, however, with little time resource it's almost impossible. On the flip side, I work with nurses, who see nurses like me, who have 38+ years experience as too old; I'm 55 (!) to teach them what to do. They forget we too, have to keep up to date with progress. There are a few who are grateful for a helping hand, so they're not all bad. Time is a very scare commodity that needs careful pruning to get the best out of it - let's not waste it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As someone in the last decade of their nursing career, I am increasingly feeling the need to 'pass on the baton' to the next generation of nurses.

    Over time I have developed a pragmatic approach to mentoring and training: there are some nurses who are destined to be average and are happy to be so. I no longer waste my precious time on this group but save myself for those who want to actively learn from me.

    Its taken me years to accept that there are some nurses who simply want to tread water rather than swim in the nursing pool. As long as they are not actually dangerous and pull their weight, I do not share my wealth of experience with them - they have no way to appreciate such a gift.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We came up with a great 'share' recently. A new RN received a physician order, "d/c IV fluids when taking PO well." Overnight, the patient's IV was locked and his output dropped. The mentor explained to the new RN that we don't discontinue fluids based on intake, as the order would indicate, but really, when the output is wnl! Who knew?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • michael stone

    This will never do on NT - a series of clearly sane posts, after a piece. Mind you, nobody who wasn't insane, could really argue with 'try and learn from people with more experience'.

    But mike's point - we are not given the time ! - is the issue which might be contentious (managers might claim you are) and that point, hasn't been much picked up on, so far as I can see.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.