Enrolled nurse post would offer 'no career progression', says RCN

Report argues to keep all-graduate profession and says enrolled nurses reported high workloads and exploitation

The nursing workforce must remain an all-graduate profession and the UK should not reintroduce enrolled nurse posts because they offer no ‘career opportunity’, the RCN has argued.

The college set out its views on nursing education in a report published yesterday. 

It follows comments by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens that the health service is planning to introduce new career ladders between care assistants and graduate nurses. 

Enrolled nurse posts were phased out in the NHS during the 1990s, when the profession was restructured under the Project 2000 scheme. They were ‘second level’ registrants who completed courses of practical training and provided care under the direction of a registered nurse.

MP Norman Lamb backed the reintroduction of a role similar to the enrolled nurse during his time as a care minister in the previous government.

The RCN said: ‘Second level nurses had no opportunity to progress their career unless they undertook a registered nurse conversion course. 

‘They consistently reported very high workloads and concerns regarding lack of support and supervision, while some described the role as being exploited. 

‘Black and minority staff were also disproportionately represented in these roles.’

The previous experience suggests if the role was reintroduced, it would be seen as a ‘cheaper and faster option to grow the workforce’, the report added, ‘and may result in the substitution of level one registered nurses’. 

The profession must remain all-graduate to ensure nurses can meet future patient and population needs and support workers should be regulated in the interest of public protection, the RCN said.

It added that a ‘stuctured career framework’ for healthcare support workers should be developed, it added.

Read the report here



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