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Full survey results: are student nurses safe to speak out?


Nursing Times revealed on Wednesday the key findings from a survey of more than 1,400 student nurses.

The “Students – do you feel safe speaking out?” survey asked them for their views about raising concerns about poor practice and whistleblowing.

It also asked them about the government’s plans for future students to work as an HCA for up to a year.

We have now published the full results.


1. Ministers are considering requiring potential student nurses to complete up to a year’s work as a healthcare assistant before they are accepted onto a degree course. How far do you agree that this is a good idea?%
I strongly agree, this is a good idea18
I agree, this is a good idea24.1
I am neutral16.4
I disagree, this is a bad idea25.3
I strongly disagree, this is a bad idea16.1


2. Do you think the government is blaming student nurses for the system’s failings in suggesting they should work a year as an HCA before starting a nursing degree?%
Don’t know12.2


3. To what extent would a compulsory year’s work as an HCA have affected your decision to start studying nursing?%
It wouldn’t have made a difference, I still would have started my nursing course54.9
I might have thought twice26.3
I wouldn’t have started on my nursing course18.8


4. Imagine you witnessed a health professional’s poor practice or attitude while on placement, how prepared would you be to raise concerns?%
I would raise concerns within the placement35.7
I would raise concerns with my university, but not placement30.6
I hope that I’d raise concerns but I’d be worried about the consequences33.1
I would not raise concerns0.6


5. How prepared would you be to raise concerns if the health professional you were concerned about was a senior member of ward staff?%
This wouldn’t affect anything for me, I’d still raise the concern38.2
I’d definitely feel more worried about raising a concern60.2
I wouldn’t raise a concern1.6


6. Who would you initially approach with a concern?%
I’d have an informal chat with the person I had concerns about8.2
I’d pass on my concerns to my mentor or senior staff53.9
I’d pass on my concerns to my tutor37.1
I’d go straight to a regulator, such as NMC or CQC0.8


7. Who would you most likely go to with your concern if your initial attempt was not acted upon?%
I’d have an informal chat with the person I had concerns about2.3
I’d pass on my concerns to senior staff25.1
I’d pass on my concerns to your university65
I’d go straight to a regulator, such as NMC or CQC7.6


8. Would you be prepared to ‘whistleblow’ to the media if your concerns were not acted upon by your placement or university?%
I don’t know49.7


9. Have you ever raised concerns about practice or attitude on placement?%
Yes I have, regularly1.9
Yes, more than once16.8
Yes, once32.1
No, I have not49.1


10. If you have raised a concern, did it lead to an appropriate outcome in relation to the practice or attitude you witnessed?%
Yes it did19.1
No it did not16.3
I don’t know14.1
Not applicable50.5


11. If you have raised a concern, did it have any consequences for you?%
Yes, it had negative consequences12.2
Yes, it had positive consequences8.2
Not applicable50.8


12. If you have raised a concern, would you do it again if you witnessed poor practice at another time?%
Yes, definitely35.2
Yes, probably17.6
Not applicable45.9


13. What do you feel are your biggest barriers to raising concerns about a health professional’s practice or attitude while on placement? (Tick all that apply)%
Threat of bullying by colleagues56.4
Lack of standard procedures for raising concerns26.9
Potential failure of my placement to act on my concerns54.3
Potential failure of my university to act on my concerns26.2
Risk of being viewed as a troublemaker by my placement76.4
Worries about failing my placement or not getting all my paperwork signed off72
There are no barriers to raising concerns on my placement6.6


14. How do you feel generally about the ability of nursing staff to raise concerns in the NHS or wider healthcare sector?%
It is as good as it can be3.5
It could be a bit better40.7
It could be a lot better55.8


16. What year of study are you in?%
First year29.3
Second year27.7
Third year43


17. What branch of nursing are you studying?%
Adult nursing78.1
Children’s nursing7.9
Learning disability nursing2.2
Mental health nursing11.8


18. What part of the country do you study/work in?%
East of England10
East Midlands8.3
North East8.2
North West16
South Central12.9
South East Coast8.9
South West9.9
West Midlands10.1

Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Good survey


    I found the most alarming response was this one to question 13.

    Just 6.6% said

    There are no barriers to raising concerns on my placement

    We have a problem!

    Its a problem for the employer

    Its a problem for the university who should have picked this up

    Its a problem for patients for pretty obvious reasons.....

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  • Student nurses can pick up poor habits from the nurses they work with, including HCAs. Student nurses also need to offer a high level of care, their poor practice or attitude should not be tolerated either.
    Has anyone ever thought that it would be a good idea to bring back clinical facilitators who work alongside student and newly qualified nurses?

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  • When do staff nurses begin to offer poor care? When does it start?

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  • Yes But

    Anonymous | 19-Apr-2013 10:42 am

    Julie Bailey has repeatedly said that at Mid Staffs, the level of care tended to be inversely correlated to seniority - Julie says that often the people who seemed to care the most were the HCAs, and the senior nurses often seemed to be much less caring.

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  • there are good and bad at every level.

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