Nurses involved in education and training often feel “overlooked or forgotten”, the Royal College of Nursing’s council chair has warned.
Giving the council’s annual report to RCN Congress today, Professor Kathleen McCourt said: “We need to ensure that the nursing workforce continues to get the very best education and preparation for what is one of the most demanding and challenging roles there is.
“I know only too often that our nurse academics, lecturers or teachers often feel overlooked or forgotten.”
“It is our university lecturers, ward sisters and mentors who supervise students in placement and who shape the professional attitudes and behaviour of our nurses of tomorrow,” she told delegates.
“We need to help them and give them our full support to make sure that the nursing workforce is fit for the future. It is all of our responsibility.”
She also highlighted the new nurse education commission, which is chaired by Lord Willis, and was launched by the RCN last month.
“In recent months nurse education and nursing has been under quite a harsh spotlight,” she said. “Despite the excellent education that the vast majority of our students receive, we would not be doing our job properly if we weren’t concerned about the minority that don’t receive a good education.”
The commission will look at what defines “excellent education and supervision”, she said, as well as how to deliver a nursing workforce fit to provide future health and social care services in the UK.
The commission is expected to report on its findings towards the end of the year.
Professor McCourt added: “We must also fight for continuing professional development, something I know some of you have had to complete in your annual leave or even to pay for out of your own purse.
“We know that continual professional development has a real impact on the quality of care delivered to patients. It is about time each and every nurse had reliable access to it,” she said