An independent advisory panel has warned that the recruitment of student nurses is a key problem in the NHS.
The NHS Future Forum, an independent advisory panel set up by the Government last year to examine the NHS, warns that there is ‘almost universal concern’ about ‘huge variations in quality’ of education and training for nurses and midwives across the country.
Their report adds to growing concerns that nurses’ training has become too academic to prepare students properly and makes them less willing to carry out practical care.
The Future Forum warns that nurses in the NHS too often lack ability, compassion or a desire to work in the profession, and are not equipped with basic skills or an understanding of the values of the health service.
It also states that NHS hospital managers are failing to take responsibility for the poor quality of some students.
Professor Steve Field, a GP and chairman of the forum, said: “Sometimes students are being assessed purely on an academic basis rather than also on their social skills and how they relate to people.”
“There’s no doubt that to be a nurse in the modern world you need to be at a certain intellectual level, but that should not be at the cost of being able to treat patients with dignity.”
“After all, the core part of nursing is caring for people when they are at their most vulnerable.”
He concluded: “We are not saying that university degrees are the problem, but we do think that a nurse is much more than a set of GCSE and A level results.”
This comes after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) stepped up its campaign for mandatory regulation of healthcare assistants in the NHS.
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