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Nurses want employers to allow mandatory training within working hours

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Nurses have urged employers to ensure all mandatory training is undertaken in work time.

Delegates at the Royal College of Nursing annual Congress in Harrogate voted in favour of a resolution submitted by the RCN Essex Branch.

It called on RCN council to “urge health employers to ensure that all mandatory training is undertaken in work time”, in response to anecdotal evidence indicating staff were being expected to undertake training in their own time and using their own IT equipment.

Nearly 99% of delegates voted in favour of the motion but due to a technical fault, the resolution was carried by a show of hands.

Speaking in support of the resolution, Linda du Preez, from RCN East Kent branch, said: “Due to increasing caseloads, the protected time for completing our mandatory training has been severely compromised and diminished and we’re doing this ad hoc.

She told delegates she had recently had to complete over due anaphylactic training after working hours.

“This is putting patients at risk if nurses are unable to complete their mandatory training in their working hours. Protected time must be allocated by employers for nurses to do it in their work time,” she said.

“Let’s keep nurses’ registrations safe. Let’s stop nurses working after their shifts to keep up with mandatory training.”

Linda Bailey, a member of the RCN public health forum, said doctors would never dream of doing mandatory training in their own time.

“Quite why nurses are treated differently is a mystery to me,” she said.

She added that training must also be “accessible and sensible”. She said: “We need training that isn’t put on in the middle of the day, when you can’t get out of work. You need to be rostered for a whole day out.”

Sheila Dunbar, an agency nurses from the RCN Cheshire West Branch, said: “If I do not attend my mandatory training in my own time I can’t work, so we need to broaden this debate beyond the NHS.”

But Pat Leung, from the North West Inner London Branch, said it was the responsibility of nurses that could not access training in work time to inform RCN representatives and trust health and safety staff.

She said: “If it is mandatory, your trust board is responsible for ensuring….that all those mandatory trainings happen and they should happen during work time.

“If they don’t….You should be informing your stewards and your health and safety reps so that we take that voice to your board members.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • While working as a Clinical Educator for the NHS I have seen how difficult it can be to encourage work colleagues to complete their annual mandatory training update. Things have improved since e-learning has become more accessible for most statutory topics, it is still difficult to ensure that all essential practical training is covered. I have tried to provide several annaul updates to include equipment training, however due to the ongoing staffing shortages, staff cannot be released to attend.

    The simple solution is to factor the need for protected training time into the nursing establishment and facilitate work based updates that are adequately facilitated. The Medical Profession can provide protected teaching time so its about time that this committment to continual professional learning be applied to nursing.

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