Impact of degree nurses assessed by review

Making nursing a degree-entry profession will attract ambitious recruits who may be less keen to work with older people, according to a King’s College London document published to inform Modernising Nursing Careers.

Chief nursing officer Professor Christine Beasley
Chief nursing officer Professor Christine Beasley

The Nursing Research Unit from the university drew together key findings from its cohort studies on nursing careers in England to inform the current review of nursing education being conducted by chief nursing officer Chris Beasley.

Its research showed that nursing careers do not meet the aspirations of many graduate nurses, who are becoming dissatisfied, although the research was inconclusive about how this affected nursing retention.

Career guidance was limited, especially about longer term planning, and the researchers pointed out this could become even more of an issue with multiple employers and providers.

Degree nurses are more likely to be working in A&E and intensive care than those with diplomas, and less likely to be working with older people and in ENT. Although nurses identified working in primary care and the community as attractive, most did not think they were equipped to do so.

The researchers pointed out that current degree programmes would need to change if more nurses were to work in primary care, as early experiences in a specialty had a massive influence over nursing careers.

Meanwhile, the first part of Modernising Nursing Careers, a review of health visiting education, has been completed and given to ministers.

The review, conducted by Rosalynde Lowe, chair of the Queen's Nursing Institute, looked at future changes in prevention and early intervention services, and how the health visitor role and career pathway should change to reflect this.The DoH said it will publish the document and its response 'in the near future'.

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