Student nurse, Mikey Whitehead, argues for the case of asking potential student nurses to work a year an HCA before starting a degree course
Nurse training is notorious for it’s large dropout rates. In fact, in the medical circle it is quite famous for it. A lot of people know that many student nurses will not see the whole three-year course through until the end.
Before I make a judgement on the recent government recommendation that student nurses should have a year’s HCA experience before they start a degree course, I’d like to know how many students drop out because they realise nursing is not what they thought it would be.
I have been nursing as an HCA for four years, and I have seen many student nurses drop out for all sorts of reasons. A common reason is because what they saw in reality didn’t match up with what they saw on Holby City or Casualty. Nursing wasn’t what they expected.
At times, I’ve felt disappointed too, but it hasn’t caused me to want to drop out. Why not? Because I loved every minute of my four years working as a HCA and that prepared me better than any university lecture.
So why hasn’t it been made mandatory for student nurses to have HCA experience before?
One argument that could be used against the proposal that all students must first have HCA experience, is that there is no evidence that this will actually improve compassionate care in the NHS.
But this is so difficult to prove. I don’t think there is any way you can ever obtain actual evidence that compassion will improve.
For me, a good nurse is one who knows what they’re going to get and has realistic expectations. And I think a year’s experience as an HCA won’t do any harm and might even help.