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Video: Should nursing be an all graduate profession?


Nursing Times caught up with nurses at the 2009 Nursing Times Awards to ask what they thought of plans to make nursing an all-graduate profession.


Readers' comments (19)

  • I do not think for one minute that anyone needs to have a university degree to be a good nurse, In fact I think working towards a degree gets in the way of learning the 'art' of nursing' sometimes, which is certainly not about writing essays well.
    However, to attract young people into the profession we have to offer them the same level of study as their friends and class mates, therefore we must offer them a degree level qualification. A large percentage of young people go to university just to get a degree, and often study a subject they have no intention of ever making use of. Student nurses will be studying and working and therefore must be offered generous financial incentives to ensure that those who are interested can apply. With increased financial security offered there should be no shortage of suitable candidates. However choosing the best should not be about grades as much as personality; are they kind, thoughtful and compassionate as well as being intelligent, intuitive and willing to work hard? Are they aware of what may be expected of them? If the answer is YES to all these questions, then perhaps we will truly have found the nurse of he future.

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    Good morning

    I agree with the lady who said a degree

    does not make a nurse,

    Insisting that nurses have degrees will totality,stop real nurses ,people who are empathetic from applying for the position of nurse,. There are people who want to be a nurse excluded from the profession just because they have not got the ability
    to look at a situation and critically analyse it using BEST PRACTISE before performing any act of nursing .

    They are unable to be modern day Florence Nightingales why?

    I will give you the answer,

    Today's nurse .has to have the ability to

    critically analyse a situation and before

    they perform any act of nursing they have to think, Is this best practise ,am i doing the right thing ,for every task at ward level,
    I absolutly disagree with this, nursing is in a persons. blood,just because a person has not got the ability to produce a degree level paper , They are excluded from the profession, This is discrimination,
    This world is so confused in the 70s we had two levels of nurses, one level qualified to become the sister on the ward and the other one became the Enrolled Nurse

    The enrolled nurse took orders from the sister and they performed all the ward level

    tasks,this was a very workable situation.

    I myself feel that the degree level nurse has to perform some of the tasks of a junior doctor and purely for this reason they have to be trained at degree level.

    I say bring back the enrolled nurse. and do it now.

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  • I completed the three year diploma course in february and am currently practicing on a trauma orthopedic ward. The only difference between my diploma course and the degree course at the university I was studying with is the fact in your last semester you have to write a dissertation as a degree student and you have to write 500 more words on academic assignments than the diploma students throughout the course. I feel by doing this does not make people better nurses and totally disagree with degree only programme. This will totally disadvantage good nurses. Why do you need to write a dissertation and have a degree to be a good nurse? Arn't exams important anymore? And please note, as a diploma student I undertook the same exams as the degree student, the only difference was I did not write a dissertation and had a few less words on essays!!! I think the government have got it all wrong on this one!!!

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  • Can we not have the best of both worlds?

    As a student mental health nurse, I love working with clients and (perversly, may be) find the academic work highly enjoyable.

    Challenges abound within nursing and essay writing is just another of these. I reject the opinion that degree only level nursing will exclude good nurses as nursing is deeply involved in self improvement. The level of pride that nurses feel when they achieve their degree will change the psychology of the whole profession.

    Nursing is distinct from medicine and up to this point nursing has not been truly at the helm of own specialty. The new rule can only help to rectify that situation.

    Nursing education could also be augmented by a short "preparation for nurse training" course which could take one of many forms.

    Rather than limit the entry of "good" nurses we will need to support those who struggle to reach their true potentials. Investment in student nurses by both clinical mentors and academic staff is paramount in raising the bar and dragging the profession into line with other health care providers.

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  • It is very sad that the NMC & Universities felt it necessary to 'validate' nurse training by insisting that all new nurses should have degrees. In a time of diminishing work force, how many excellent potential carers will we lose because they can't achieve a full degree?
    Ironically we employ more untrained support workers and nursery nurses to fill the unfilled nursing vacancies, and rely on them to take on increasingly complex tasks that never would have been delegated before.
    Are we reintroducing two tier nursing by default?

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  • Absolutely not. It is the proliferation of degree nurses who have ruined the practical nurse. It is time we got back to teaching the basics by skilled, experienced nurses who know what they are doing. Unfortunately this will take some time as those with the necessary knowledge and skills are a dying breed......literally. It is fine to know how to analyse and synthesise but we still need capable practical nurses who know the correct way to insert a continence pad or a naso gastric tube or listen to someone with dementia. I have had trained nurses come to their first ward without any of these skills and they are expected to be trained by ward charge nurses who do not have them either. Bring back the ward based teachers and eventually we will get staff with the appropriate skills to be 'old matron' types who are not frightened of being disliked and are not looking for promotion.

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  • As one of the first wave of P2K students I am aware of the negative attitudes the last generation can have to a new form of training, I spent three years fighting that stereo type so I would not want to stop those who wish to or have time to do a degree but at the same time we should not exclude those who may not have the apptitude to take that path but may be an excellent nurse who is proficient in the delivery of high quality care, this extends to non qualified staff, my wife you is a bloody good support worker would now not be able to enter the service without jumping through hoops, despite the protestations about a more technical role I can't see much change in the fundamentals of nursing over the last 18 yrs and also are the graduate only nurses going to accept the rates of pay that will remain less than those of graduates else where, having seen the quality of the medical trainees that are coming through now and lack of practical knowledge they have one worries about the future, not everything in our job fits a protocol or a set of easy steps, we deal with humans not statistics who come in a grey area in the middle

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  • I agree with everything that you are saying that having a degree does not make a good nurse but unfortunately we are in a time of accountability to the public and by having a university degree in Nursing is looked upon as a having more status and credibility with colleagues and the public.
    Entry to practice Nursing in Ontario, Canada had changed to university degree for new nurses several years ago. I was a diploma trained nurse (graduated in 1982) who went back to university and got my Post RN BScN degree 3 years ago.
    Now that I have my degree I don't feel that I am a better nurse. I believe that I was always a good nurse but a degree has given me more opportunities and has taught me to think critically. Writing papers taught me to examine my way of thinking and question things.
    Acceptance of a university degree for entry to practice for nurses is a fact of life now where I practice and some of the experienced nurses have gone back to school part time to obtain their degrees as it opens up more doors for them in their nursing careers. They didn't have to do this but chose to.
    I believe now that having a Nursing degree for entry nurses is a very good thing for accountability for our profession.

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  • Difficult to say there lots of very good very intelligent nurses out there who do not have degrees but can diagnose and analyse patients care etc better thansom junor doctors. And there are nurses with degrees who are completely useless as nurses. Maybe all nurse training from now on should be a degree course do away with the diploma. When I did my training the only difference betwen me and a student doing a degree was they did an additional dissertation on the course but we followed the same program produce the same essays etc. What about people who come into nursing with a degree in a different disciplne I was one of those students who had a degree but wanted a career in nursing. However whether nursing becomes only a degree course or not the problem we need to weed out the potentialy bad nurses.

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  • This argument has been going on for many years. A degree tell us the nurse is academic and can write assignements. It does not necessarily develop the vocation and empathy that is essential for good pateint care, on whatever field the nurse is in. We do have a two tier system - nurses filling in masses of paperwork, and the HCA who is doing the hands on care. The SEN in all but respect

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