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Thousands sign petition calling for children's nursing specialism to be protected

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for the children's nursing degree specialism to be protected.

Thousands of people have signed an '11th hour' petition calling for the children's nursing degree specialism to be protected.

The Shape of Caring review, commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), was published almost two years ago with 34 recommendations to shake up nursing education over the next 15 years.

Recommendations included reviewing the current system of separate undergraduate courses in adult, children's, learning disability and mental health nursing. Instead, all nursing students would undergo two years of general training followed by a year of specialising in a specific area and a one-year preceptorship.

Specialism protection

Concerns have been raised that the move would dilute the specific branches of specialist nursing and now a petition calling for the children's

Thousands of people have signed an '11th hour' petition calling for the children's nursing degree specialism to be protected.

The Shape of Caring review, commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), was published almost two years ago with 34 recommendations to shake up nursing education over the next 15 years.

Neil O’Connor
Following a review, recommendations have been made to protect children's nursing degrees
Picture: Neil O’Connor

Recommendations included reviewing the current system of separate undergraduate courses in adult, children's, learning disability and mental health nursing. Instead, all nursing students would undergo two years of general training followed by a year of specialising in a specific area and a one-year preceptorship.

Specialism protection

Concerns have been raised that the move would dilute the specific branches of specialist nursing and now a petition calling for the children's nursing degree specialism to be protected has been signed by 11,000 people.

It was set up last week children’s nurse and nurse educator Orla McAlinden.

‘I thought the petition might raise our profile and publicise our predicament,' Ms McAlinden told Nursing Children and Young People.

'I passionately believe that children and young people need and deserve skilled specialist nurses to meet their many needs.'

The petition reads: 'Moves are afoot to make nursing a generic pathway...our children need and deserve appropriately skilled/educated children's nurses not generic nurses (adult) with some limited experience and knowledge. Its our 11th hour.'

The NMC is currently reviewing the standards of pre-registration education and will formally consult on them later this year.

Falling behind

The State of Child Health report published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health last month revealed child health in the UK is behind most European countries.

Debbie Fallon, senior lecturer at the University of Manchester and chair of Children and Young People Nurse Academics UK said the group will be publishing a position paper by the end of next month on the future of children and young people’s nursing.

She said: ‘People have been galvanised before the NMC consultation about pre-registration education. There is so much to do to look after children and young people in this country that we need nurses to be properly educated and on the specialist part of the NMC register.’

Sign the petition here

Further information:

Worries remain over future of specialist nurse degrees


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