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Young people 'underestimate nursing'


The role of the modern-day nurse is underestimated by the majority of youngsters, a poll suggests.

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The findings came in a survey conducted by the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing andMidwifery at King’s College London to mark the 100th anniversary of the nursing heroine’s death.

Many of the 1,000 18-year-old students questioned did not know nurses are authorised to give patients medicines and can also prescribe them.

Other areas the students had misconceptions about were pay and career progression - just 6% knew nurses could earn up to £100,000, while only 25% were aware they could rise to consultant level.

Some 20% of the students, who are studying different academic subjects, said they were more likely to opt for a career in nursing after hearing of the skills and opportunities involved.

Amongst those who had already given thought to a career in the profession, 63% said they were now more likely to follow that path.

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, head of the school, said:

“It is a worry that many students do not fully understand what a career as a nurse involves.

“We need to challenge and update the image of nursing to tell it as it is - one of the greatest and most rewarding professions providing one of the most precious services to society - compassionate, high-calibre care delivered by outstanding people.”


Readers' comments (37)

  • Most people underestimate nurses in my opinion. And who's earning £100k?? Not a huge percentage of nurses I would imagine!

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  • I agree yes nurses are underestimated.
    But as for the £100k, don't give them false hopes!
    Even less nurses will be earning £50k with this government so theres no hope for £100k!

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  • Nurse are under estimated. But it takes a long time to reach Consultant Nurse level and a lot of hard work and studying. You should not give false hope to these young nurses. £100 I dont think so and I can never see a nurse achieving this. I am a Consultnat Nurse and certainly do not earn this kind of money - No where near it.

    Nurse Prescribing yes after you have been qualified for a while and have a Degree and experience and then the course is not for the faint hearted it is hard work.

    Please be realistic in what you are telling the future nurses of tomorrow.

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  • I agree with all of the above- it is ridiculous to give people the impression that nurses earn that sort of money. Any one who came into nursing expecting salaries in that region on the strength of that advice would be in for a very rude awakening!

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  • I do know AP's that earn somewhere upwards of the £60K mark however I don't think we should attach shame or disapproval to being able to do that, which I hear a lot. I agree with the above comments on getting to that point being incredibly hard work and well deserved.
    I also think we are not positively self publicising enough in general about the great things we do and skills we have.
    I wonder if we carry a lack of pride and sense of embarrassment around with us for the state of things at the moment.

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  • I am sitting here speechless!!! How could anyone involved in nursing make such statements ? It is totally false to emphasize the very few nurses who have reached the top and ignore the daily grind of the majority of nurses who are the backbone of the nursing profession.

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  • Steve Williams

    Earn 100K p.a. in nursing? Blimey, mark me down as one of the 6% who didn't know that either! Never heard of it before and I have certainly never met a nurse who was pulling in that much money.

    I think it's grossly unfair to raise youngsters expectations so falsely. It's as ridiculous as it would be for RAF recruitment officers to go around telling schoolchildren that you can fly jet aircraft if you just join the service. Sure, it's possible, but only a fraction of the total recruits actually get to do it.

    How bitter will these nurses be when they finish their training and then find out what the real average pay and conditions are like?

    I'm not advocating preaching the real doom and gloom of the situation they will eventually end up in... but please try and keep it somewhat within the realms of reality!

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  • Surely telling young'uns that nurses can earn 100K is counter-productive to getting the payrises nurses deserve... Young people are our bosses of tomorrow!

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  • Okay, I think we are veering slightly off the point here.

    As I have said in numerous other posts (usually to the call of people saying TV portrayals are a bit of fun, etc), the truth of the matter is the general public as a whole, not just the young, have very little clue as to what Nurses actually do or what the profession actually is!

    The stereotypical image of the Nurse as being an uneducated Doctors assistant who simply makes beds, wipes a few bums and then bow down before the almighty Doctor is a very real one.

    And this is a very real problem! Not only for recruitment and retention into the profession, not only for moral and our own professionalism, not only for our struggle in acheiving professional status and pay and working conditions that go with that, but also for our patients, who very often do not realise what we can do for them or what we can help them with and so will not come to us for help.

    As for the money issue, a consultant Nurse SHOULD be earning this sort of money, (I know they are not know, but they SHOULD BE), a band 5 should be on at least £25,000 starting out for the level of education, qualification, skill and accountability we have for crying out loud! And it certainly should be recognised more widely what a staff Nurse does and that we CAN reach consultant level! Maybe then we will get the status, pay and respect we deserve!

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  • Things like this that encourage the "too posh to wash" attuide that is infiltrating nursing

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