“That wasn’t how we did it when I trained,” is a phrase Student NT editor Alisha Poole has heard on numerous occasions throughout her training. And it’s left her wondering, was it really so much better to train as a nurse before the degree course?
Adult branch Student NT editor, Alisha Poole
Looking back to the debate on the change stating that all new nurses must have degrees back in 2009 there was a lot of resistance towards it in the first instance. Despite evidence showing that highly educated nurses provide high quality care.
Personally, I would rather know why I am performing a task and understand the pathophysiology behind a disease, or understand the contraindications of certain drugs and why that is.
I feel that armed with that knowledge, I am able to provide a high level of care for my patients and answer any questions they might have and help to put their mind at ease. There has been no other group of professionals that have had to argue that they are not “too clever to care” or “too posh to wash”, and I find it astounding that anyone even has a problem with having a well-educated nurse providing their care.
The NMC’s chief executive, Dickon Weir-Hughes, said: “Raising the minimum level of education programmes to degree is essential in ensuring that future nursing students are fully prepared to undertake the new roles and responsibilities that will be expected of them by end of the programme.”
“You might find something you studied in university fires something up inside you and really captures your interest”
Frankly, I agree with him.
Your degree will open doors for you, you can move on the do a masters degree, or even a PHD. If you utilise your time in university wisely you will qualify and be extremely well educated, helping you to feel more comfortable when you take on your first role as a newly qualified nurse.
You will understand what is going on ‘behind the scenes’ in the body, the reasons certain physiological manifestations are appearing and what to do about it.
You can help to educate your patients and their families. You might find something you studied in university fires something up inside you and really captures your interest, such as the heart, you could go on to specialise in cardiac nursing.
“Students are a great source of hope for the future of nursing, we are an inspiration, an asset and a credit to the nursing profession”
You could become a nurse leader, inspiring change and good practice in everyone around you. You could end up leading a team of other nurses or travelling the world helping people. The possibilities are endless.
Taking on the degree requires a lot of sacrifice. We sacrifice the ability to work reasonable hours to pay our bills. We sacrifice our social life and our holiday time to study or work at clinical placement. We sacrifice our evenings and our weekends, and sometimes our family time.
That sacrifice should be acknowledged. Students are a great source of hope for the future of nursing, we are an inspiration, an asset and a credit to the nursing profession. Letters and cards from grateful patients and mentors/staff teams are a testament to the high professional standards and quality of care we provide.
Our degree is something we should be incredibly proud of.