Staff shortages stop nurses from completing essential training

Registrants are not getting essential training or continuing professional development because of staff shortages and financial pressures

Nurses are missing out on training courses because of funding cuts and lack of available cover, an RCN survey of more than 14,000 nursing staff shows.

Almost a fifth of those surveyed said they did not complete essential training last year. Of these, 44% said this was because there were too few staff to cover their work. Among those who did complete their courses, almost half said no cover was provided for them. About ten per cent of respondents had to use their annual leave to complete compulsory training.

The results represent a challenge to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s new system of revalidation, due to begin in October, which will require nurses to demonstrate they have undertaken 40 hours' continuing professional development (CPD) over a three-year period. 

A quarter of survey respondents said opportunities for CPD had contracted over the past five years.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘It is absolutely critical all nurses receive essential training each year to maintain standards of care for patients, and it is extremely worrying that almost one in five nurses has not been able to do this. It is unacceptable that workplaces are so short-staffed nurses cannot be released for training and it is shameful many have to do essential sessions in their own time. Employers need to address this shortage or risk harm to patients.’

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