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Nursing Standard podcast: Foundation years for nursing students

Universities may need to use foundation years to ensure students can meet new registration standards, an academic has suggested

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Time stamps

  • 1:40 – News roundup
  • 10:22 – NMC proposals to overhaul education
  • 35.45 – How a new communication tool could help pain management

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Nursing Standard podcast returns this week to discuss planned Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) changes to education, touching on mentoring, simulation hours and the possibility of preliminary qualifications.

London South Bank University deputy dean and nurse Alison Twycross said members of the Association of Chief Children’s Nurses had suggested the enhanced draft NMC standards would mean future students would acquire the knowledge of a current Band 6 staff nurse.

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In an interview on the podcast, she asks whether more universities may need a foundation year to ensure nursing students can meet the new requirements.

She says: ‘We need people who have the skills to look after people who are sicker and who can then care for them in the community.

‘The entry requirements for university courses are unlikely to go up. But potentially, what needs to happen – what I’m giving a lot of thought to – is the need for different entry routes into nursing.

‘So, do we need some sort of foundation year to get people up the level we need them to be at?’

Lifting the cap

The draft standards encompass sweeping changes to education.

One proposal includes lifting the cap on simulation hours to allow nursing students to complete 50% of their required 2,300 practice hours in simulation laboratories.

Professor Twycross is in favour of this proposal and said it would reduce the pressure of finding enough placements – something that has stood in the way of government plans to increase student numbers since the bursary for tuition fees was replaced.

‘Students would still have to spend a significant time in practice, and be able to demonstrate the skills and competencies at the end of the course,’ Professor Twycross says, adding that nursing students in Canada and the US already use more simulation hours.

The deputy dean is one of three academics interviewed on Nursing Standard podcast about the new education standards.

Swansea University lecturer Deborah Rowberry spoke of the plans to replace mentors with practice supervisors, assessors and academic assessors.

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She argued the mentor system is good, but growing pressures on registered nurses’ time and increasing numbers of students mean it must be changed to ensure there are enough placements and learning opportunities.

Fellow Swansea University lecturer Gabby Rowley-Conwy told the podcast she was excited by the opportunities for experienced clinical nurses to become involved in student education.

The NMC will vote on the final standards during a meeting on 28 March.


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