Your views

Readers’ panel: Are there too many routes into nursing?

The nurse apprenticeship scheme will see up to 1,000 people a year qualify as registered nurses. This way into the profession is in addition to the traditional degree-level route and the nursing associate role, which could act as a springboard to becoming a qualified nurse. Nursing Standard readers’ panellists have their say. 
NAs_v_Grads_tile_Getty.jpg

The nurse apprenticeship scheme will see up to 1,000 people a year qualify as registered nurses. This way into the profession is in addition to the traditional degree-level route and the nursing associate role, which could act as a springboard to becoming a qualified nurse. Nursing Standard readers panellists have their say

Stephanie Cumming is a practice nurse in Warwickshire

I cannot be the only one confused by the introduction of the nurse apprenticeship scheme. Many apprenticeships are fantastic, but I struggle to understand how this will work. Will nurse apprentices attend the same courses at universities as students undertaking a full-time degree programme? I also worry that the (soon to be old school?) degree route will be viewed negatively, and that the myth that

...

The nurse apprenticeship scheme will see up to 1,000 people a year qualify as registered nurses. This way into the profession is in addition to the traditional degree-level route and the nursing associate role, which could act as a springboard to becoming a qualified nurse. Nursing Standard readers’ panellists have their say


Routes into nursing are diversifying, with the introduction of the new degree-level nurse
apprenticeship scheme. Picture: Getty

Stephanie Cumming is a practice nurse in Warwickshire 

Stephanie Cumming
I cannot be the only one confused by the introduction of the nurse apprenticeship scheme. Many apprenticeships are fantastic, but I struggle to understand how this will work. Will nurse apprentices attend the same courses at universities as students undertaking a full-time degree programme? I also worry that the (soon to be ‘old school’?) degree route will be viewed negatively, and that the myth that graduate nurses are ‘too posh to wash’ could be perpetuated. Whatever the route, the government must ensure nurses continue to be trained to a high standard so they can provide safe and effective patient care.


Daniel Athey is a staff nurse on an acute medical unit in Sheffield
@danjathey 

Daniel Athey

The increased number of routes into nursing represents an increase in demand for nurses, and an attempt to source them from different backgrounds. Making nursing a degree-only profession was restrictive, and I don’t think having various routes into nursing creates a problem, as long as the final qualification is the same. The difference between diploma and degree nurses is non-existent, with jobs awarded purely on merit. I think experience-based qualifications are more valuable than academia for nurses, and the various routes into nursing acknowledge this. 
 


Jane Scullion is a respiratory nurse consultant in Leicester 
@Jane Scullion 

Jane Scullion

While opening up another route of entry for potential nurses seems timely given the problems with recruitment, cynics may see this as a dumbing down of the previous graduate-entry scheme. To take its place among other professions, nursing needed to have a graduate route, similar to physiotherapy or pharmacy. The problem has always been that nurses are needed for their numbers, not necessarily their qualifications, and the advancement of the nursing profession hasn’t been a priority. By all means get the numbers, but to retain staff you need incentives of career progression, and that means qualifications. 


Linda Drake is a practice nurse in south London 

Linda Drake

There is scope for a variety of roles in the nursing profession, but this should not be addressed in a piecemeal fashion, with various new roles added ad hoc whenever someone in the Department of Health or nursing education dreams them up. We need a strategic approach to nurse training, with clearly defined progression pathways for those who want to develop their careers. We also need clearly defined careers for those who prefer to remain at a more hands-on, less academic level, and remuneration packages to attract recruits from a wider cohort of potential nurses.


Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity only 

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs