Bring back proper nursing training before it’s too late

Another shocking NHS care blunder sparks a heart-felt plea from our clinical negligence partner and former nurse Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp for the return of traditional nursing values…

Once again the failure to provide basic nursing care is making headline news. With a patient dying of dehydration in hospital, after having telephoned 999 in a desperate cry for help.

This morning on the radio I heard the usual commentators saying the same old things. Mainly that the kindness has gone from nursing, the training is too academic, and that the old virtues of caring and compassion ‘need to be regained’.

This disastrous situation has come about due to the ‘professionalisation’ of nursing, which forces all nurses to study for a degree. And the adoption of a ‘one graduate nurse supported by umpteen healthcare assistants’ model. It’s cut out a huge swathe of would-be nurses who previously studied a two-year practical course and qualified as State Enrolled Nurses (SENs). Those more academically inclined added extra theory to their studies in a three-year course that qualified them as Registered General Nurses (RGNs). There was a waiting list to enter this training and candidates were carefully interviewed.

My own nurse training was brilliant. I remember to this day being fed by a colleague in the dining hall to make us realise how demeaning this is for patients. And being pushed around the West End in a wheel chair so we could empathise with those for whom walking wasn’t possible. Then there were all the sociological and psychological aspects of nursing we learnt about.

Our training produced committed, hard-working, thoroughly competent nurses who understood the meaning of caring. The sooner the present degree-based courses are scrapped and we get back to less theoretical and more practical training the better.

Nursing is hard work above all else. Emotionally demanding, even heartbreaking, and sometimes dirty. But it’s fundamentally a practical job. And one which, done well, is also one of the most wonderful and satisfying on the planet.



Accidents and Disease, Current Controversies, Marcus Weatherby, Medical Negligence, Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp,
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