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STUDENT DEBATE

'Should aspiring student nurses work as HCAs before starting their course?'

  • 7 Comments

What do you think of this key part of the government response to the Francis report?

One of the most talked about recommendations to come from the Francis report was that student nuses work for 3 months under the supervision of a qualified nurse before they are given funding to complete a nursing degree.

When the government responded to the report, they extended this to “up to a year” and clarified that aspiring nurses would need to work as HCAs.

 

What do you think?

Would this have put you off starting your training?

Does this plan affect how HCAs are viewed as part of the multidisciplinary team?

 

 

 

  • 7 Comments

Readers' comments (7)

  • I understand why this is thought to be helpful but I actually take it as an insult on nursing.

    The scheme implies that student nurses aren't good enough and also belittles the HCA role - implying that HCAs are trainee-student nurses.

    Many student nurses do drop out, true, but often this is due to the academic side of nursing which is not a part of the HCA role. Working in one job does not mean you know what a different job is like - the two roles are different.

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  • I was recently involved in the recruitment process for the trial of this programme, and it was refreshing to see that not only the quality of candidate was high, but the recruitment process was very robust.
    There is no guarantee of a place on a nursing post at the end of this, but it should give potential students a good grounding in what is required of the role.

    I do however have a few concerns:
    - how will this be funded?
    - what will be the role of existing HCA's
    will there still be a role for people who want to be a HCA but not proceed to nurse training?
    - how will continuity of care be met when the HCA's change every 6 - 12 months?

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  • I think it's a great idea as all too often I see degree nurses who don't have a clue how hard HCA's work and the abuse and disrespect they get despite doing the jobs that trained nurses used to when I trained. HCA's do a marvellous job and rarely is this appreciated. The day to day care of patients used to still be the job of trained nurses but now is pushed onto HCA's more and more, degree nurses seem to just want to be managers. I think working as an HCA will give us more caring and aware RN's. HCA's do a lot academically too especially if they progress to being an Assistant Practitioner, this course is very heavy and hard, no easier than what student nurses do, and is done in their own time whilst working full time. All respect to HCA's!

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  • As a HCA myself I have the opportunity to work closely with the nursing department and to understand the role they play but I do believe its beneficial to have student nurses from a HCA background.
    I am not saying that will undermine nursing staff but to understand the need of basic care, care plans, care plan evaluation and to understand the physiological impact of good care and good practice to your patient/resident.
    Hospital failings reported in the media talk about nursing staff and there poor quality of care, I understand time restrictions etc but this is what we train for.
    Care assistants not matter what level you are have a difficult job as well as nurses but I believe to be a better nurse with a true understanding of care I do believe that Student nurses need those foundations within care.

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  • As a HCA myself I have the opportunity to work closely with the nursing department and to understand the role they play but I do believe its beneficial to have student nurses from a HCA background.
    I am not saying that will undermine nursing staff but to understand the need of basic care, care plans, care plan evaluation and to understand the physiological impact of good care and good practice to your patient/resident.
    Hospital failings reported in the media talk about nursing staff and there poor quality of care, I understand time restrictions etc but this is what we train for.
    Care assistants not matter what level you are have a difficult job as well as nurses but I believe to be a better nurse with a true understanding of care I do believe that Student nurses need those foundations within care.

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  • I work as a HCA and I'm also a student nurse so I understand the importance of both very different roles however....I think we forget that not all nursing is clinical and therefore asking all student nurses to have experience as a HCA is, in my opinion, short-sighted and a little naive.

    Aside from questions around the financing and practicalities of such a a scheme, it is vital to understand that 'caring' experiences comes in many shapes and sizes... and not just in the guise of a HCA. I know people who have cared for and nursed dying family members, I know people who tirelessly volunteer their own time and money to charity and I also know people who look after their children in the most difficult and challenging of circumstances and against all odds. I truly believe that those people encompass the core values of the NHS and of compassionate care just as much as any HCA out there.

    Why demand HCA experience specifically? Why not just demand proof of implementing the 6Cs and some related experience? Doesn't make sense to me.

    Also caring is a TEAM effort. Not nurses in isolation. So if we're going down the route of asking all student nurses for a year as a HCA in order to prove they have caring qualities let's do the same for ALL health professions (doctors, physios, OTs, SALT, pharmacists, microbiologists, dietitians, etc..) so the public can be assured that they are all on a par. No?

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  • Some excellent comments here. Some evidence (refs) some nurses do not regard their role as personal care. Some evidence (refs) students reprimanded for trying to deliver personal care . Interesting this pilot is being lead by RCN/NMC/CQC---. RCN in particular opposed the scheme (the words "stupid" comes to mind) and have aims for 3 year nursing degree, albeit inadequate (refs). Also- if we are training students only to work in NHS- we need to say so. NHS does differ from private/ charity sector (REFS). Back to- do we really need a 3 year degree? Is not a one year specialisation eg surgical, care homes, enough?

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