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University to train all nurses to degree level

  • 48 Comments

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has approved a university’s plans to train all its nursing pupils to degree standard, making it the first institution in England to change to meet new UK rules.

The University of Southampton has satisfied the council its planned nursing degree schedule meets strict quality criteria and will put the plan in place from September.

Dean of the health sciences faculty Professor Jessica Corner said: “This is an historic moment for nursing - we have been pressing for this for a very long time. From September we will be preparing a new generation of nurses for the NHS.

“Nurses now require a high level of technical competence, clinical knowledge and decision-making skills in addition to their more traditional caring role. By qualifying to degree level, our graduate nurses will have the range of skills they need to deal with the challenges of modern nursing.”

In November 2009, the government said that by 2013 anyone wanting to be a nurse would have to complete a degree in a bid to boost patient care standards

Southampton University is two years ahead of that timetable, with its first BSc products of the degree-only courses set to graduate in 2014. It has trained nurses to degree level for over 20 years, with South Central Health Authority commissioning each course place.

The course content for degree-level nurses was also shown to members of the public, students and university staff so that the potential views of patients and family members could be taken into account.

We’re going viral! Have you friends heard about the ‘seat on the board’ petition? Let’s ensure nurses are actively involved in the new commissioning consortia.


  • 48 Comments

Readers' comments (48)

  • Well well - in Wales we have all been doing this degree since 2002 - but I am not sure that we got a pat on the back for being the first.

    It was more like criticism!!

    One thing to remember - all the degrees and technological learning and practice cannot enhance the caring and compassionate attitude and the meeting of key activities of daily living if this attitude is not there in the first place.

    Registered Nursing Practice is about competent, knowledgeable CARING.

    So English universities - choose your students wisely and honourably.

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  • Have to agree entirely with the previous comment. Are the NMC and the Universities totally ignorant about the reality that is todays "caring" NHS. Do they really think that Degree status will bring about the desired change in attitudes towards older people. The emphasis upon the technological said it all. Compassionate competent couregeous individuals are the ones who will change this appaling neglect of the attitude, not just a degree in more of the same. I reiterate what the previouos person said. Choose wisely you may be in the bed one day.

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  • I compared my knowledge and achievements between diploma and degree level, i have to say i have been a better nurse as a degree level than when I was a diplomate. I am more confident in what I do and can give to my patient. Be more politically minded and aware of the needs of patients. I feel i have the tools to ensure patients rights.
    On the other hand, as a diplomate, i felt the same, doing same approaches but lack the confidence to fight for my patient's rights.
    Therefore, there is that credibility on degree level nurses to pursue that confidence andconmpetence needed to ensure patients rights in healthcare.
    Patients are thrown in different sectors of incompetent management , how are we to advocate if we dont have the nurses at degree level. Move on nurses, get thatdegree .!!

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  • Either you can...or you cannot...Diploma or Degree makes no difference to the quality of care, and l speak from the so called higher end. Hands on quality care does not require degree status and at the end of the day it is only a 10,00 word citation, big deal! NOT. Let's get real and treat people as they deserve to be treated, gold standard and nothing less, know your job and do it to the best of your ability. GO NURSES, WE ARE FAB.

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  • "Let's get real"

    Is this irritating, stupid and meaningless cliché which keeps cropping up everywhere in the NT comments issue of the Y , digital 'Diva' generation?
    It doesn't add much to what should be an important and INTELLIGENT debate to advance the future of the nursing profession!

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  • In the light of some of the above comments, I understand that some may be sceptical about the need for all graduate status. I share Professor Corner's view that this is both necessary and historic, but would like to add reassurance that the values of care and compassion are not forgotten within an all graduate curriculum.

    I am well placed to comment, as I am a member of the team who wrote the curriculum to which Professor Corner refers at Southampton University.

    We do choose students "wisely and honorably", and are proud of our current graduates as a result, but within this new all graduate curriculum, we go much further. Every aspect of students' learning on this programme will be grounded in a Values Based model which explicitly aims to develop personal character and integrity, values of care and compassion, and courage.

    This Values Based model was particularly commended by the NMC, and we are confident that by adopting this model Southampton has gone some way towards re-defining the nature of graduate nurse education.

    We passionately believe that a graduate training can and will enhance (or at least nurture) compassionate and caring attitudes. In the light of the recent Ombudsmans' report we will have failed if we cannot do so. In the meantime, can I make a plea that people examine the nature of new all graduate programmes before seeking to dismiss them as "more of the same"?

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  • the scheme above sounds good in theory. the problem is often that so much pressure is put on students to achieve academic results that there is little time for the practical and to reflect on the care they deliver.

    Universities also need to take responsibility for the courses they deliver and the care provided, especially if things go wrong as a result of their teaching and course material so that the debacle with the elderly and all other patients entrusted to the health services is not allowed to happen and never happens again. There is no use simply providing a training, what ever the academic level, if the services are not delivered.

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  • Time after time in my training, the academic side of things pushes the importance of values based care and compassion. Then you go out to practice on placement and it is there that bad habits, poor attitudes and poor practice is picked up. There are alot of good staff and good mentors out there. But not everyone is willing and able to be a role model to the latest generation of nurses. It is the already qualified that have have the potential to make or break new nurses.

    I have seen mentors tell students outright that they dont like students and dont want them on the wards. Tell students that correct moving and handling doesnt work in this area. Tell students that no matter what lecturers tell them, the ward is real life so things have to be done in their way or the students books dont get signed off.

    Alot of nurses blame the universities for creating nurses who lack compassion. When more time in a students training is still spent in the ward environment than in the classroom (6 semesters on placement vs 3 semesters of theory). I will say again that there are alot of good mentors out there and staff that try to nurture new staff. But all too often even the good ones feel they have to abandon students or use the students as HCAs due to staffing levels.

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  • Anonymous | 26-Feb-2011 4:13 pm

    'It is the already qualified that have have the potential to make or break new nurses.'
    NO.. you are your own person.
    '.....you go out to practice on placement and it is there that bad habits, poor attitudes and poor practice is picked up'. If you pick these up then you are not being the nurse you want to be. Stop blaming everyone else.....BE the nurse you want to be.
    I must add too, that sometimes university tutors are out of date, with practices, not referring to attitudes here.
    I used to deliver a MDT day on stroke care, that keeps trained staff up to date too, but it took the MDT staff from the clinical area for that time. The university was not prepared to pay for our time to backfill the staff away from patient care, so it had to stop.
    Since then we have approached the university again to offer our servives, but the curriculum is so rigid, they cannot fit us in.

    Anonymous | 26-Feb-2011 12:05 pm

    Either you can...or you cannot...Diploma or Degree makes no difference to the quality of care, and l speak from the so called higher end. Hands on quality care does not require degree status and at the end of the day it is only a 10,00 word citation, big deal! NOT.

    I agree!

    ..and 'Anonymous | 26-Feb-2011 9:31 am

    In 1973 to feel confident enough to be a patient advocate and challenge some unnecessary medical and nursing decisions as an SEN (then). Just in case there are people out there that challenge my intelligence, I converted to RGN in 1991, and have an MSc.

    I have no objection to degree nurses, but it is down to the individual and the person you are in the end

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  • Degrees are all very well but it does not mean that you will get better care. It is about the attitude and behaviour of the individual towards those for whom they are caring. Patients want both competence and compassion - the two go hand in hand.

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