Nursing reforms, good or bad?

  michaelw 09:11 23 Apr 2013

Jeremy Hunt plans to get nurses to work for a year as healthcare assistants before taking their degree.

A good idea or not?

  fourm member 09:38 23 Apr 2013

I think the idea is to make sure young people know what they are getting into before they commit to nursing as a career.

Though, of course, the majority of nurses do an excellent job, there have been too many instances of poor care, including Mid-Staffs, to be ignored.

I'm not sure the engineering analogy works. I've known a number of qualified engineers who didn't like the work and went into sales.

My perception is that nurses stick with the job even if they find they are not really suited to it. There seems to be a strong pressure not to waste all the time spent training.

Plus, of course, there is an element of thinking that time spent doing the basics will instil them as a habit. A bit like basic training for squaddies.

  Chronos the 2nd 09:39 23 Apr 2013

I am only talking about my own personal experience but I have never seen the nurses as the main problem except to say there are too few of them for the amount of patients they have to deal with and the ridiculous amount of paperwork involved in even the most minor of procedures. If anyone, as I have, got their hands on their medical notes, will have been stunned that in the 21st century most medical notes are on paper and there can be several copies of each document.

My main criticism is for the consultants who I have found in my NHS board to be aloof, arrogant and completely lacking in a decent bedside manner and perhaps we should be sending these people back to a GP practise once in a while to get some reality back into their lives and hopefully reacquaint them with the fact that patients are people as well.

Not forgetting the ever increasing size of the bureaucracy who have little idea of the day to day running of a large hospital and only have government targets, both financial and medical, in the forefront of there minds.

Fact is, like the clergy, health care professionals are often not psychologically equipped for the job. Some people have a natural caring streak and human insight that underpins such equippedness, so they learn and cope, but it is not a characteristic that is selected for at interviews for either clergy or health care professionals. It is not nurtured and promoted. No-one ever got to be Archbishop or Consultant Medic by being a warm, caring human being. It's not how these institutions roll.

They should roll like that, of course, but that is incompatible with the cost/profit, target-driven business model that the government has chosen to embrace for the NHS. But then, politicians are not psychologists. They still think economics is about numbers, not human behaviour.

  spuds 10:29 23 Apr 2013

Like all suggestions of this nature, there will always be people who are for or against.

What worries me the most, is when things go wrong and some of those have very seriously consequences, we are then told "Lessons will be learned". Now whether this report or suggestion is one of those "Lessons will be learned" exercises, I can only guess or assume?.

Then there would be the 'costs' involved with administration and otherwise, in implementing this idea, if it was to go ahead. Would a 'qualified' person, go back to basics, with the thoughts that they have perhaps been downgraded?.

Over the past few years, I have had regular sessions at my local three main hospitals for various reasons. One thing that I noticed on a frequent basis was the different standards between wards and administration procedures, even within this same hospital group or trust, yet the senior controlling management board was one of the same.

  carver 10:36 23 Apr 2013

And just who is going to pay for this 12 months work as healthcare assistants and who will judge if they are suitable to continue their training.

But isn't the biggest problem that we have a shortage of nurses in the UK and their jobs are becoming more a supervision job over healthcare assistants.

  Bing.alau 11:11 23 Apr 2013

This may not be relevant to the thread, but I have just had an e-mail from a good friend in Australia. He spent a few days in hospital in Perth last week and found that most of the nurses were British. Furthermore he said the difference between the British nurses and the Australian nurses showed. The British nurses were much more accomplished. Some of them told him they were out there because the pay and conditions were better than in the U.K. It seems there was some problems with qualifications being different but even while doing the different qualifying tests, the pay and conditions were better. Maybe this is why we have a nursing shortage in this country? I seem to remember some years ago there was a big leap in the number of British trained doctors emigrating, for the better pay and conditions in places like America and Australia.

Incidentally, one of my good friends who qualified as a doctor in Germany has just emigrated to New Zealand, but that was also because her husband was offered a job after being made redundant from the Lifeboat service. She tells me she is also better paid out there than she was in the UK.

  carver 11:26 23 Apr 2013

Bing.alau my daughter has a friend who starts a job there in 12 months time, she completed her nurses qualification 18 months ago and is due to go this time next year.

Reason same as you have already stated, money and better conditions.

Can any one remember a few years ago an under cover programme about nursing and how patients were being treated like objects to get them from say A&E into either a ward or out of the hospital by the management in a set time to comply with government tables.

  oresome 11:29 23 Apr 2013


With a pot of gold* I have no doubt you could manage improvements in both education and the health service, but I'm afraid the reality is that both services are going to have to adjust to managing on less.

We are in economic decline with an ageing population. Fewer taxpayers and an increased demand for the state resources doesn't equate easily.

Giving would be nurses an insight of the job before expensive training gives both sides an opportunity of seeing if they are a good match.

As for who evaluates the candidates. That's a normal management role that will be undertaken by others throughout anyone's career.

*Actually Labour tried pouring money at the problems and the outcomes weren't convincing.

  spuds 11:49 23 Apr 2013


There was a Australian 'helicopter emergency hospital service' program on BBC2 over the last week or so, starting at 6.30pm. It appeared that most of the people involved in that program are British who have recently emigrated or have been in Australia for some time. Perhaps worth a look on any possible downloads from that program, because it was very interesting?.

  michaelw 12:05 23 Apr 2013

Personally I think it's a good idea. The reason being that I truly believe the nursing care standards have progressively fallen over the years. When I was young little girls would dream of becoming nurses when they grew up. They even played doctors and nurses games. These little girls were genuinely caring by nature. This has drastically changed. Now nurses' attitudes are that it's just a job and some of the more mundane duties are beneath them. I'm not tarring all nurses with the same brush but there are a hard core of nurses who don't really care about the caring side of their job.

A case in point. How many relatives of ill older people visit them in hospital and find out their loved ones are dehydrated or even worse starving? Well I'll tell you; Forty-three hospital patients starved to death last year and 111 died of thirst while being treated on wards.

The heads of The Royal College of Nursing should stop shouting defiantly and hang their heads in shame.

  wee eddie 12:59 23 Apr 2013

There is a problem:

Let The Royal College of Nursing suggest a solution and then we can decide who has the best alternative

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