The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warns that the new nursing apprenticeship will need to ensure graduate-level education for ‘would-be’ nurses to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.
Announced on November 30 by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, it is expected the move will allow as many as 1,000 apprentice nurses to join the NHS every year, and to work alongside fully-qualified individuals as ‘associates’ to develop their skill-sets.
Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary has welcomed this as a ‘positive move’ made by
the government in recognising the need to increase the number of nurses, as well as to provide a more flexible route into the sector. However, Davies does stress the importance of a graduate-level education to keep up with 21st century healthcare:
“Nursing has made enormous strides in the last few years; we must be careful to learn from the lessons of the past, when student nurses were often seen as nursing on the cheap. We must also be careful we do not create a two-tier system which reduces equality of opportunity.
“The RCN and the nursing community has fought long and hard to ensure a highly skilled and expert workforce. This can only be achieved if the right level of university education, supervised clinical experience in a learning environment, and substantial mentoring and supervision are available.”
Read more on the apprenticeship here