A call for rotational posts to be made compulsory for newly-qualified nurses has been rejected in a vote at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference.
The RCN’s Devon branch put forward the idea that making it compulsory for rotations during the first year aft qualification could ensure “maximum learning and development opportunities and equip staff nurses to care for a range of patients in different clinical settings”.
“It can be difficult for newly-registered nurses to be sure which area of nursing they want to develop a career in. Rotational programmes can help them to make up their mind, ultimately leading to improved retention for organisations,” it stated in support of the resolution.
It also noted that it was already well-established practice in medicine and was “gaining popularity” in nursing.
Simon Clarke, who second the motion, said: “Being at work as a nurse is very different to being a student on a placement… really often newly qualified nurses are thrown in at the deep end.”
Cat Forthsyth, from the RCN’s safety representatives committee, also called on congress to “embrace” idea of compulsory rotational posts for first years.
But Anthony McGeown, a student from Greater Glasgow, argued against. He said: “We need to be very cautious I do not believe the compulsory road is the best route to take. I believe the college should be focusing more on the uptake of effective formal preceptorships for newly-qualified nurses.”
Former RCN president Maura Buchanan also spoke against the resolution as did several other delegates.
How can new nurses “settle” in an clinical area and gain the skills if being rotated every three months, asked Nykoma Hamilton from the Fife branch.
The resolution lost by a large majority, with 87.49% of delegates voting against it and only 16.51% voting in favour.