You will agree with me that when you visit a hospital, you want qualified personnel taking care of you. However, things change so fast in the medical arena, making knowledge obsolete. Healthcare practitioners need training to bring them up to speed with new breakthroughs and development in healthcare. Disaster strikes when short-term healthcare goals compete with long-term health care goals. Healthcare institutions find themselves with increased patient populations that not only strain the nurses but also make it hard for the hospital to give nurses permission to get more training.
The UK Faces a Healthcare Crisis
Nurses in the UK find it hard to attend training because of understaffed hospitals and reduced funding for training. Without this training, nurses soon become unfit to remain on the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register. The outcome is an increased strain on the remaining nurses and the healthcare system in general.
When nurses cannot access training, it becomes hard for them to develop specialist skills and take up new roles. Even if funding were available, nurses would still find it hard to attend training because of staff shortages, increased patient numbers and staff sickness.
Some Statistics to Demonstrate the Seriousness of the Problem
30% of nurses interviewed by the NMC reported that they only attended 10 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) annually. 30% attendance rate is disturbing because the required minimum time that each nurse needs for training is 35 hours every three years. Besides, winter pressure means that there is an increase in patient numbers, resulting in overworked nurses. The extra unpaid hours that nurses usually work, thus increase.
The Safe and Effective Staffing: Nursing against the Odds report by the RCN notes that 93% of UK nurses work unpaid extra hours. The report recommends the immediate execution of steps to reverse this trend.
In England, the Workforce Development Fund, mainly used by nurses for CPD got a 60% reduction. In the past twenty-four months, the CPD budget dropped from £205 million to £83.49 million. Health Education England recently froze the 2018-2019 budget at £83.49 million.
Northern Ireland does not have a government, meaning that the Department of Health has created the 2018-2019 nurses’ post-registration education budget whose amount is still unknown. In addition to Scottish and Welsh national data being unavailable, Welsh health boards continue to deny their nurses a break from their shifts to receive training.
Why is Nursing Training Important?
It is paramount that nurses attend training because it ensures patient safety. Without training, nurses risk falling behind on the latest clinical developments in areas such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer treatment. Training enables nurses to stay updated on the latest medical developments. With adequate training, nurses will become better nurse leaders and pass on their knowledge to new graduate nurses, ultimately benefiting the patients.
Employers should ensure that nurses have access to CPD modules and adequate time to go through the material. The problem is that with the ‘winter crisis’, the funding cuts have reduced the number of courses available for nurses.
It is vital that the government and other health bodies create strategic plans backed by funding to increase the access rate that nurses have towards CPD. The fact that 35% of Welsh, 27% of Scottish, 24% of Irish and 14% of English nurses are yet to complete training on mandatory subjects like hand hygiene and blood transfusion is very unsettling.
Without nurses, the NHS would simply collapse, which would be a shame for a system currently the gold standard in healthcare delivery. It is imperative that nurses have access to various forms of CPD in order to enhance their specialist skills. So as to better understand how funding works, all medical institutions should publish data on the amount of funding allocated to them for CPD training.
Proposed Solutions to Ensure Adequate Nurse Training and Patient Treatment
First, there should be additional funding dedicated to nursing training. The Commons Health Select Committee supports the idea of having dedicated funds to train nurses. According to Janet Davies, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) CEO, nurses make up at least half of the NHS workforce, and as such, training should not be optional.
Second, the NMC should implement the new education standards that student nurses must achieve prior to appearing on its register. These requirements will be instituted in 2019 and are expected to increase the skill and competence levels among nurses. Nurse training is very important because trained nurses have to supervise student nurses and impart their practical knowledge and experience. Therefore, the importance of ensuring that nurses have the latest knowledge cannot be overemphasized.
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Nursing training is an important part of every healthcare system on the planet. Without training, nurses’ knowledge quickly becomes obsolete thanks to the dynamism of health problems and insights from medical research. While it is difficult for organizations to balance between handling increased patient numbers and giving its already strained nursing staff the opportunity to get training, they should prioritize training because it has the best long-term promise. We offer healthcare recruitment services for organizations and individuals, allowing the former to get top talent and the latter their ideal jobs.
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