A year-long preceptorship programme for graduates and increased opportunities for nurses to complete clinical research throughout their careers should be investigated by England’s national workforce planning body, according to recommendations from a major review of nurse training.
The Shape of Caring Review has called for universities, employers, regulators, professional bodies and commissioners to explore whether to introduce a structured 12-month programme of support when nurses begin their first job in their chosen specialism.
Nurses should be able to carry out an independent piece of research as part of this programme, to either achieve an honours as part of their degree or put it towards a masters programme in the future, said the review’s chair Lord Willis in an interview with Nursing Times.
“There isn’t that sense of encouraging your workface to constantly be searching and improving”
National workforce planning body Health Education England should also look into introducing a fellowship system for nurses, through which they would be recognised for ongoing research, according to the review recommendations.
Currently around £5bn is spent on training for all healthcare professionals, but the majority is spent on medics, said Lord Willis.
Health Education England should “unpack” this budget as a matter of urgency to assess where the money is being used and whether it should be redistributed for ongoing learning, he added.
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Meanwhile, continuing professional development should be more closely tied to opportunities for nurses to move into different roles, said Lord Willis.
He said that during his review he found CPD was “non existent in most places” and usually only offered when an employer needed to plug a skills gap within their service.
“There isn’t that sense of encouraging your workface to constantly be searching and improving,” he said.
His review calls for Health Education England to consult on a career framework for nurses based on future models of care, which would clearly lay out the competencies required for different settings and roles.
This would incentivise nurses and employers to use CPD to both improve practice within their existing posts and prepare them for moving into new areas, he told Nursing Times.
“Nursing sits in a silo. They graduate and do not have a recognisable career path thereafter and that is unacceptable in any profession,” said Lord Willis.
Addressing the role education and training had to play in tackling recent nurse staffing shortages, he added: “Until we motivate the profession to see that this is a career for life and an aspirational career, we will not motivate people to come in.”
What did the Shape of Caring Review recommend?
- Universities, employers, regulators, professional bodies and commissioners should work together to explore the development and implementation of a year-long preceptorship programme for newly qualified registered nurses.
- HEE should ensure that the funding for ongoing learning (and ongoing learning and career pathway qualifications in speciality learning) for care assistants and nurses becomes more transparent across the system.
- HEE should consult and explore the membership and fellowship model.
- HEE should develop and consult on the integrated three ‘pillars’ model of self-care, shared managed care and restorative care, and commission appropriate organisations to develop a career framework (in conjunction with the other three nations).