Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Should ward sisters/charge nurses have a first class honours degree?

  • Comments (39)

Should ward sisters/charge nurses have a first class honours degree?

A post-graduate course to fast-track “elite” nurses into ward management roles has been created by a partnership of trusts and universities in London.

A group of 15 candidates will be selected for the four-year course, which is due to begin in September. The scheme, believed to be the first of its kind in the NHS in England, aims to have graduates ready to go straight to a ward sister post. Only nurses with a first-class degree who graduate during the current academic year will be considered as candidates.

Students will cover 150 competencies over the four years, more than three a month. The course also involves six-month rotations through primary care, mental health, general and specialist hospital settings. Each student will be individually mentored by a director of nursing.

Full story is available

  • Comments (39)

Readers' comments (39)

  • Not necessarily, however they should have a first-class knowledge, gleaned over a number of years, in whatever area they are in.
    I wouldn't want the Charge Nurse/ Sister of AED/ ITU/ CCU to be fresh from a year with school nurses and the mentalists, with no direct experience since qualifying 4 years previously, and I very much doubt Joe Bloggs would either.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Should ward sisters/charge nurses have a first class honours degree?

    No. But I would have no problems if they did. If, in the words of redpaddys12 | 4-Jun-2012 6:34 am, they "... have a first-class knowledge, gleaned over a number of years, in whatever area they are in."


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To use the category of degree is unreliable. Over years, there has been a shift with firsts being awarded where 20-30 years ago a second would have been given. Different universities have wildly different standards, and a first at KCL or Oxbridge is a high distinction, whereas it is almost par for the course at some newer ex-polytechnic universities. The achievement of a first is about as easy to define as the lenth of a piece of string.
    Neither does it necessarily determine who is the born nurse, the born teacher or the born leader.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Do you need a first class honours degree to audit? because thats what they do for most of the time!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As a mature degree student who will graduate in 2013 I know know some students who want to 'go all the way' who would probably jump at this opportunity. Myself, I would not feel confident that i had the ability or the desire to do this without some post-reg experience. First class learning is all very well, but there is no substitute for hands on experience or, I have to say, life experience.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    No, they shouldn't, this is clear discrimination against those who don't have a degree. Ward sisters should be appointed because they are the best all-round candidate for the job they are applying for.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Redpaddys12: School nursing and mental health nursing of course would not equip somebody to manage a CCU/ITU/A&E. However, managing a highly acute unit would likely not give anyone the skills to manage complex child protection cases, counsel a young person through an unintended pregnancy, or provide appropriate treatment during a suicidal or psychotic episode. You write as if some specialisms are of less value or of less academic and practical merit than others.This is a failing of some newspapers and commentators who don't have a clue about medicine or nursing beyond what they see on Holby City, but I expect more sense from a fellow professional. And no, I am not a school nurse or a "mentalist", but have taken the trouble to find out about other peoples' roles. If you did too, you'd be surprised!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Im definitely in agreement with the context of the comments made so far. I trained a long time ago when though we had quality teaching from both N urse Tutors and Consultants practically we had a wide range of experience and so partly our training was learned on the job. Ward Sisters used to take time out for teaching young Student Nurses. Ive done a Degree and a Masters (not in Nursing)so consider myself intelligent and academic. This does not, however, make me a better Nurse - only my training did that. Whilst I firmly believe Nursing should have a firm academic base there is no substitute for experience. If these Ward Sisters have spent most of their time in University how can they possibly understand the needs of both their patients and their colleagues???? Im afraid I also have to say that I do not think it is necessary to have a Degree to nurse - why not just do medicine????. I should add (re experience) some of the best Doctors Ive worked with did a fair amount of time working as a HCA - I rest my case.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 5-Jun-2012 12:14 pm Bloody ridiculous!!! If you take time and effort gaining a degree in your field then like ANY training or qualification that SHOULD be recognised as something extra, you SHOULD move up the ladder!!!! That is in no way discriminatory!!! If you want to move up the ladder alongside your colleagues, then get a degree yourself!!! If you want MORE, get a masters, or a doctorate, or do you think that gaining those qualifications mean nothing and we should all continue working as HCAs?

    This experience VS degree argument is absolutely ridiculous!!! Of course experience is extremely valuable, that is a given. But how much experience did any of you have once you qualified? Oh, about the same as those qualifying with degrees now? Experience is earned OVER TIME!!! And those who HAVE degrees will gain that experience in exactly the same way as all of you who are saying that 'it's no substitute for all my years in... ' . Those nurses who have BOTH, will be those nurses who lead this profession in the future, like it or not.

    And as for this 'elite' course, whilst I disagree with the title, as I think ALL nurses are elite, I agree with the core behind it. Remember, those who take this course will have 4 YEARS post qualifying education and experience before taking the rank. Not to mention the training itself (which by the way Anonymous | 5-Jun-2012 6:05 pm IS partly learned 'on the job'), and the experience the vast majority of us have working as a HCA before and during our training. If that's not working your way up, what is?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Natalie Jewell

    Maybe in 30 years time this will be appropriate but at the moment how many nurses have degrees? This would prevent some excellent nurses from being ward managers just because they trained when a degree wasn't required. In fact there are currently plenty of brilliant ward managers without degrees. Would demoting them be approriate? I think not!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 102050results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.