Apprentice nurses could treat hospital patients in bid to tackle shortages

The move could allow as many as 1,000 apprentice nurses to join the NHS annually and work alongside fully qualified nurses and ‘nursing associates’ [Image: Peter Byrne/PA].

The move could allow as many as 1,000 apprentice nurses to join the NHS annually and work alongside fully qualified nurses and ‘nursing associates’ [Image: Peter Byrne/PA].

What if they make mistakes?

This could blight the careers of potentially good nurses while failing to help patients.

Jeremy Hunt should have funded the NHS in England properly – but instead he promoted privatisation. This is the result.

Hospital patients could be treated by apprentice nurses under plans to be announced by Jeremy Hunt, sparking a new row about how the government is tackling shortages of health professionals.

The health secretary will say on Wednesday that student nurses can train on the job rather than having to complete a university degree.

The move could allow as many as 1,000 apprentice nurses to join the NHS annually and work alongside fully qualified nurses and “nursing associates”.

Those who could become nursing apprentices include healthcare assistants or those already working towards nursing qualifications.

While nursing associates can remain at that level, apprentices will be expected to work towards becoming a registered nurse.

Source: Apprentice nurses could treat hospital patients in bid to tackle shortages | Society | The Guardian

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  1. NMac November 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    All part of the evil Tory plan to ensure the NHS fails.

  2. Christine Cullen November 30, 2016 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    The danger here is another profession being dumbed down like the teaching profession. In schools up and down the country and particularly in Free schools and Academies without the benefits of LEA and union support, Headteachers are either willingly or under financial duress, allowing unqualified teachers who should be working as Teaching Assistants or at most, Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs,) as teachers taking responsibility for classes of children and even planning lessons. “Teaching on the cheap.”
    How will this translate into an NHS, desperately underfunded, with managers trying to plug the gaps in any way they can?
    Messing with children’s education is bad enough. Messing with people’s lives is dire.
    It’s back to the 1950s for most, both in state schools and hospitals, while the affluent can afford to use private schools and health facilities with fully qualified staff (trained by the NHS) as and when they wish.

  3. Barry Davies November 30, 2016 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    As a nurse of 25 years, who did the so called apprenticeship system, before due to eu regulations it moved to wholly graduate and left us with a severely reduced amount of fully qualified capable nurses I find the insulting manner of the idea that only graduate nurses are worthwhile, the major difference of course is that we were capable of going on to a ward and being in charge extremely competently form day one of registration, todays graduate nurses start to learn real nursing after they qualify. 1000 is a start but it still will not be enough to cover the losses of numbers since 2008, but it will allow people such as myself who started nursing at age 26 to join the profession bringing in experience and skills from other professions with them.

    • Mike Sivier November 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      I think you’ve missed the point.
      The people who will be brought in to treat patients will be trainees – not fully-qualified nurses.

      • Jenny Hambidge November 30, 2016 at 8:52 pm - Reply

        This is a situation which has arisen because of EU regulations. Before, nursing was divided into State Enrolled Nurses had a less formal education but learnt practical nursing skills to a high standard on the wards with breaks for teaching weeks. I think this training was two years. Or you could go the route of the State Registered Nurse with it more formal. academic training as well as periods on the wards. You could opt to specialise – in midwifery, paediatric nursing, community nursing etc. The education was of a very high standard and as I recall strictly regulated by the Royal College of Nursing.I don’t know how it felt to be an SEN, I only know that the SEns were often far superior in their patient care to their blue or white uniformed SRN.They were paid less, but as far as I recall they were paid for the work they did whilst training.The system was more inclusive- for those less academic, the SEN training was practical nursing.

        • Mike Sivier December 1, 2016 at 10:53 am - Reply

          How did EU regulations change that?

  4. Dez November 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Having done away with the nurse financial support Bursory ie short term “save a few bob for the bwankers mistakes” as usual that Hunt never thought about tomorrows needs. It used to be training on the job and those that shined were given and earnt the opportunity to progress. Whist todays grads are intelligent I notice they lack empathy, which thankfully the auxilliaries and carers make up for, and regret have witnessed first hand a sad lack of common sense. Empathy and common sense is not something that is readily taught these days you have to learn the hard way or just get on the job. As for letting the apprentices loose on the job that just about sums up that little Hunt and his continued failing to locate his one brain cell onto the appropriate stem ….. truly a bear with a little brain. What this useless idea will do however is help fast track and execute his cunning plan into the privatisation market.

  5. rotzeichen November 30, 2016 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Jeremy Hunt is unfit to be in charge of the NHS, he has co-written a book calling for the NHS to be privatised, the havoc in the NHS has been of his making and direct underfunding is the primary cause of the collapse in the service.

    To say the man is insane is to denigrate the insane, we are told that we need ever increasing credentials to compete in a harsh economic climate, only to find that he suggests a vocational certificate for a job specification that needs a three year degree qualification. To say you just couldn’t make it up, is to lose sight of the fact, that is what they do all the time.

    For those of us old enough to remember the jibes from Tories shouting about looney lefties, the evidence of time proves who the real looneys have been all along, and it really is time the great unwashed realised it.

  6. Sanjit November 30, 2016 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    This seems a recipe for conflict. Pay, grades, authority, progression etc are all potentially at risk, another ill thought out plan. But then we all know the definition of a health professional is subject to whoever has an interest in it. If the DWP excuse is anything to go by we will have lab technicians from the prosthetic dept performing cardiac bypasses before their finished.

    • Mike Sivier December 1, 2016 at 10:58 am - Reply

      … under false names, Brian?

      • Sanjit December 1, 2016 at 4:56 pm - Reply

        I prefer the term pseudonym.

        • Mike Sivier December 2, 2016 at 2:59 am - Reply

          Why use one, Brian?

      • brian December 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm - Reply

        JKR may give an answer, for me however, the term represents both my heritage and the meaning behind the name.

        • Mike Sivier December 3, 2016 at 9:04 pm - Reply

          That is not an explanation – or at least, not enough to clarify the matter. Please do so.

    • brian December 3, 2016 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      I’ve said all I’m going to say on the matter, quite succinct I thought, but obviously not enough for your invasive questioning of my avatars persona, are you afraid I’m a fifth columnist, and do you normally approach other contributors to unveil their personal data.

      • Mike Sivier December 4, 2016 at 3:20 am - Reply

        I have, in the past.
        Most people only comment here with one account/name. When people start commenting with two, I reckon I’m within my rights to ask what’s going on.

  7. Catherine Cooper November 30, 2016 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    I also started my Registered General Nurse at the age of 44, in 1988, and like all qualifying nurses at that time, we worked on the wards. We spent three months learning on different wards and a couple of weeks in school, with nurse tutors. Under the supervision of trained staff we learnt our nursing skills, on different wards. After three years training we took final exams. Yes, we were “trainees”, but we knew how to take proper care of patients, unlike some of today’s graduate nurses. This had been the normal training for nurses, for many years. Hunt is turning the clock back! We also had State Enrolled Nurses working with us, who did two years training on the wards. Hunt plans Nursing Associates, who will do the same as SENs. Don’t knock “Nurse trainees” we were real, caring, empathetic nurses!

  8. Sven Wraight November 30, 2016 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Perhaps someone should suggest to Mr hunt that if someone’s working as a nurse, they should get paid as one: he’ll soon bury the idea!

  9. Jessie December 2, 2016 at 11:00 am - Reply

    People do have short memories.

    Student nurses, for SRN or SEN, used to make up the main part of the ward staff, and as workers they were paid a proper, although rather low, wage. For SRNs, six weeks in nursing school, and then onto the wards, where most of the learning happened, with two weeks back in nursing school at intervals, and more supervised responsibility promoted with each advance of the three years of training. Nursing is essentially a practical job, not an academic thesis; requiring a good intelligent practical common sense, and much kind understanding.

    Changing it into a degree, making it more theoretical, while removing payment and replacing it with fees, was not an advance. It has meant that trained nurses are more distant from the patients and most of the real work is done by nursing assistants, who, however good, have no training at all. (With the exception of specalist wards like intensive care, where most of the staff are necessarily well trained.)

    This is not in any way to support Jeremy Hunt, who is an abomination; but in itself to say that adding trainees to the mix would be disastrous and retrogade is nonsense, when it worked very well, in fact better, in the glory days of the non privatised NHS.

    Though probably Hunt would do it in such a way as to make it a disaster, as he has no necessary attributes of sense and empathy, and should never have been allowed anywhere near a health department.

    • Mike Sivier December 2, 2016 at 11:14 am - Reply

      You have mentioned the problem while trying to dismiss it, I think.
      Nurse training has been changed into a more theoretical subject – the people Mr Hunt would put on wards would not have the same knowledge as the student nurses of old, who you mention.
      And Jeremy Hunt is not trustworthy in any way.
      Maybe these concerns are groundless. But if they aren’t, and someone is harmed as a result, it will be too late to say anything about the idea. So I’ve said it here.

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