Caring by degree

All new nurses will be educated to degree level from 2013 to better equip to improve the quality of patient care, Health Minister and Commission Chair Ann Keen has announced.

The minimum level for pre-registration courses for nurses will be raised from diploma to degree level and these courses will meet new standards developed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the professional regulator for nursing.

The timetable for implementation puts in place the NMC recommendation to make all courses for new nurses degree level.

This recommendation came after the four UK Health Departments asked the NMC to carry out a consultation and review of pre-registration nurse education and is supported by all the key nursing bodies.

Ann Keen said: “By bringing in degree level registration we can ensure new nurses have the best possible start to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Degree level education will provide new nurses with the decision-making skills they need to make high-level judgements in the transformed NHS.”

Chief Nursing Officer and Commissioner Christine Beasley added: “Degree-level nurse education will be supported by a national framework for preceptorship which will ensure that new nurses have the support they need to make the transition to confident practitioner.”

4 Responses to “Caring by degree”

  1. Have to have the career pathways, peer group respect and the listening ear of line managers to go with the graduate status. Otherwise a future lacking in balance needed for success and nurses will leave.

  2. Nurses have been working for years to raise the standard of care they give and many undertake additional training in clinical skills to do so; the move to degree only recognises this. However, he pay system at the moment does nothing to reward nurses for learning new skills, and continues to pay largely on the basis of time served. Similarly there is no clear training structure for those who want to progress into ward management. The recognition that nurses have the ability to study at a similar level to their peers in other healthcare professions, and that the role needs nurses trained to this level is long over due. But we risk many disillusioned graduate nurses in the years ahead unless there is a wholescale reform of Agenda for Change which is still largely rewarding for length of service rather than contribution, at the lower grades.

  3. It seems to me that the Commission should be including the overall provision of nursing within its remit. The whole continuum from HCA through “assistant practitioners” to registered practitioners needs to be examined and placed within a single framework. This would allow for logical, and interlocking, programmes of education and training and for a clearer understanding by the public of these various roles, not to mention clear and achieveable progression routes towards registration.
    This isn’t a new idea; it was recommended by Briggs (Report of the Committee on Nursing) back in 1972 and disappointingly rejected. It would be encouraging to think that the current Commission had read not only this report, but widely on the historical development of nursing. Judge (1975) is another interesting document in relation to the volume of care given by unqualified and unaccountable individuals. Again, this remains a live issue 35 years on.

  4. It doesn’t need a degree to make a valuable nurse. More nurses are needed per shift to improve working conditions & pateint care in many areas…pay needs to be drastically increased due to accountability etc & the old style apprentice training needs to be reinstated. Having a degree will make no difference whatsoever other than many potential nurses may well be excluded from undertaking training thus making the existing problems worse!It is shameful the way nursing is going/deteriorating due to meddling governments & idealists.