Editorial

Editorial: how will the education shake-up affect attrition target?

The government’s effort to tackle drop-out rates is laudable, but it comes as nurse education takes a leap into the dark, writes Graham Scott
Graham Scott

The governments effort to tackle drop-out rates is laudable, but it comes as nurse education takes a leap into the dark, writes Graham Scott

Drop-out rates among nursing students have been a concern for years. Nursing Standard was first to reveal the scale of the problem a decade ago, when a quarter of those who started their courses were not making it to the end. The situation has barely improved since.

In light of changes to the way pre-registration education is funded, the government has finally decided to act by setting ambitious targets to halve avoidable student attrition rates in England.

This is a laudable aim, as it is a waste of time, money and effort to start training people who for a whole host of reasons do not last the course.

Impossible to predict

But it comes just as the countrys universities

The government’s effort to tackle drop-out rates is laudable, but it comes as nurse education takes a leap into the dark, writes Graham Scott

Drop-out rates among nursing students have been a concern for years. Nursing Standard was first to reveal the scale of the problem a decade ago, when a quarter of those who started their courses were not making it to the end. The situation has barely improved since.

In light of changes to the way pre-registration education is funded, the government has finally decided to act by setting ambitious targets to halve ‘avoidable’ student attrition rates in England.

This is a laudable aim, as it is a waste of time, money and effort to start training people who for a whole host of reasons do not last the course.

Impossible to predict

But it comes just as the country’s universities embark on the biggest shake-up of the nurse education model since the introduction of Project 2000 almost 30 years ago.

Frankly, it is impossible to predict the impact introducing tuition fees and ending student bursaries will have on the number and type of applicants to nursing courses. So too is predicting the number who will decide that nursing is not for them, or that the costs involved are simply too much to bear.

The changes to the way nurse education is funded are not so much a leap of faith as a leap into the dark. And don’t forget they were proposed by the deans of English nursing schools, who teach nursing students every day to take decisions based on evidence.

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