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Many senior nurse roles found to be open to non-nurses

Professor Alison Leary says many adverts do not request nursing qualifications. ‘When nursing is missing in leadership, catastrophic things happen,’ she warns

Professor Alison Leary says many adverts do not request nursing qualifications. ‘When nursing is missing in leadership, catastrophic things happen,’ she warns

Senior nursing roles increasingly do not require applicants to be registered nurses, according to an investigation by a nurse academic.

London South Bank University chair of healthcare and workforce modelling Alison Leary has collected around 100 job adverts where nursing qualifications are not explicitly requested.

England’s chief nurse joins opposition to recruitment adverts

Her latest example, which she shared on Twitter – a recruitment posting for a deputy chief nurse – led chief nursing officer for England Ruth May to tweet that such an approach ‘isn’t

Professor Alison Leary says many adverts do not request nursing qualifications. ‘When nursing is missing in leadership, catastrophic things happen,’ she warns

Picture: iStock

Senior nursing roles increasingly do not require applicants to be registered nurses, according to an investigation by a nurse academic.

London South Bank University chair of healthcare and workforce modelling Alison Leary has collected around 100 job adverts where nursing qualifications are not explicitly requested.

England’s chief nurse joins opposition to recruitment adverts

Her latest example, which she shared on Twitter – a recruitment posting for a deputy chief nurse – led chief nursing officer for England Ruth May to tweet that such an approach ‘isn’t right’.

The title of ‘registered nurse’ is protected in UK law but the title of ‘nurse’ is not. A petition set up by Professor Leary calling for the title of ‘nurse’ to be legally protected has attracted 30,759 signatures.

Reasons why adverts are excluding nursing experience

Professor Leary said factors driving the trend in senior nurse recruitment include difficulties in recruiting nurses, and lobbying by other professional groups wishing to access higher banded roles.

‘I have seen ads for senior nursing positions where registration in any form was optional and the essential criteria was having an MBA,’ she said. ‘Others are open to both Nursing and Midwifery Council or Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered professionals.’

The HCPC registers groups of professionals including paramedics, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

‘Devaluing’ nursing could lead to staff exodus, says professor

Alison Leary

Professor Leary said her research shows that 10% of ‘nurse’ jobs on the NHS Jobs website do not require nursing qualifications, which is damaging to the profession.

‘You are saying their qualifications and skills are worthless,’ she added. ‘Employers need to realise if you employ nurses you need to look after their psychological well-being, and devaluing their work doesn’t make them stay in your organisation.

‘There are also consequences for safety – when nursing is missing in leadership, catastrophic things happen.’

Nursing leader agrees that adverts could be damaging

Queen’s Nursing Institute chief executive Crystal Oldman said: ‘A consequence of advertising a senior expert nursing post without the requirement to have a nurse registration is that it will be perceived to devalue the unique knowledge, skills and expertise that are required to be a registered nurse, if these are not required for this senior nursing role.’


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