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Do more practice placements in adult social care, nursing students told

Exposing trainee nurses to care settings aims to encourage them to consider working in the sector and help create a more agile workforce, white paper says
Picture shows a nurse and nursing student sitting at a patient's bedside looking at documents

Exposing trainee nurses to care settings aims to encourage them to consider working in the sector and help create a more agile workforce, white paper says

Nursing students are set to undertake more practice placements in adult social care as part of government plans to bring health and social care together.

The ultimate aim will be for all students to gain experience of working in social care, under proposals set out in a new white paper on the integration of health and care services .

The hope is that exposing trainee nurses to care settings will encourage them to consider working in

Exposing trainee nurses to care settings aims to encourage them to consider working in the sector and help create a more agile workforce, white paper says

Picture shows a nurse and nursing student sitting at a patient's bedside looking at documents
Picture: John Houlihan

Nursing students are set to undertake more practice placements in adult social care as part of government plans to bring health and social care together.

The ultimate aim will be for all students to gain experience of working in social care, under proposals set out in a new white paper on the integration of health and care services.

The hope is that exposing trainee nurses to care settings will encourage them to consider working in the sector and help create a ‘more agile workforce’ where nurses move easily between roles in the NHS and social care.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it would work with bodies including the Council of Deans of Health – which represents universities offering healthcare courses – to boost the number of nursing students doing social care placements.

Move comes amid severe shortages of registered nurses in adult social care settings

The white paper states: ‘Our long-term ambition is for all health undergraduates to experience adult social care, to understand perspectives across sectors, enhance future team working and create a sense of a joint health and social care career structure.’

The move comes amid severe shortages of registered nurses in adult social care settings such as nursing homes, with numbers working in the sector continuing to fall.

A report by the charity Skills for Care on the adult social care workforce in England shows there were 34,000 registered nurses in 2020-21, down 5% or 1,800 jobs on the previous year.

It showed the number of registered nurse jobs in adult social care has fallen by 33% or nearly 17,000 jobs since 2012-13.

DHSC says nurses are at the heart of plans to boost integration

The DHSC said nurses were at the heart of plans to boost integration and it was ‘committed to offering all necessary support, training and funding’.

‘We recognise the importance of gaining experience within a social care setting and we will provide these opportunities moving forward,’ a department spokesperson said.

The white paper also sets out continuing professional development budgets for nurses and nursing associates in adult social care. The DHSC told Nursing Standard it was looking at how these would work. Funding will come from a £500million investment in training announced last year.

The Council of Deans of Health has been contacted for comment.


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