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Starting Out

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Older nurses can help improve training.

Nurse training seems to be the one thing that everyone has an opinion on. Even people who are not nurses – or never have been nurses – have a perspective on it. One might call it a soapbox for all.

Recently, a senior colleague and I were discussing pre-registration nurse training. He felt it needed a radical overhaul with a return to the methods used before the advent of Project 2000. I favoured a more moderate approach.

But his wasn’t some throwaway comment. His plan was well thought out and outlined a model that would place training firmly within the context of acute care, with placements being undertaken in medical, surgical, paediatric and psychiatric wards before the practitioner specialised, post-registration, in a final consolidation year.

He felt that modern training placed too little emphasis on practical skills, and too little time was spent teaching anatomy and physiology. And, with a few caveats, I agreed.

But then I’m lucky. I work as a newly qualified nurse in an area where I am able to access the considerable skills and years of experience of older nurses, nurses who have seen methods of training come and go and fall back into favour. But they won’t be around for much longer.

The older, more experienced nurses are leaving. Some are retiring, some are moving into less frontline jobs and some, I suppose, have just had enough of it.

If older nurses feel that modern training is not good enough, they need to speak out.

It is not enough to have an opinion – one should act on it too. There is a time for talking and a time for jumping off that soapbox and seizing the moment to change nurse training.

Because they are the ones most qualified to do it.

Arabella Sinclair-Penwarden is a staff nurse in Devon

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