This week Jeremy Hunt, The Health Secretary, announced a new path to nursing. The proposed route will follow along an apprenticeship structure and will result in the student gaining a degree level qualification. Up to 1000 apprenticeship nurses could join the NHS each year using this initiative; hence aiming to help reduce the understaffing issues surrounding the NHS at the moment.
The problem is that aspiring nurses can join the apprenticeship at different levels depending on the qualifications and experience of the individual; this could result in staff being taken from other departments to partake in the qualification. As the apprenticeship works on a 50:50 basis between theoretical work and practical application the staff members will also be working fewer hours on the hospital floor. If this is the case the pressure will remain because even though the staff numbers may rise the total hours on the hospital floor will drop.
In conjunction to this another area that may hinder the NHS is that the apprentices’ roles may not allow them to partake in certain procedures and this may hinder the fully trained employees. A skills gap will potentially arise if the majority of aspiring nurses come from the same department or area of the NHS with little staff to cover that area. A different skills gap could also be created between different levels of people within the apprenticeship and those that are fully trained; for example if there was few of the advanced nursing apprentices that could partake in the majority of roles and if most of the apprentices had just started and were very new to the routines and procedures.
The new pressures on nursing staff may result in more conflict between staff or similarly with a higher pressure on staffing may result in tension. The new apprenticeships may result in a fantastic way to access a career in nursing, but make sure your staff feel valued and have the skills to resolve conflict easily if it arises.
We would love to hear your opinions on the topic, will this open a new path for yourself or would you be aiding and teaching on the new apprenticeship? Get in touch, call us on 01473 722 924.