Growing our Future Nurses, what will it mean for us day to day?

I’ve been watching ‘Years and Years’ by Russell T Davies on catch up recently. As Russell was born in Swansea and educated at Olchfa (a school we regularly pass on our trips home to Swansea) I really enjoy his writing as the Welsh connections always sing through! Years and Years follows a Manchester family, led by ‘Gran’ through the political, economic and technological changes that take place over a 15 year period. Without giving too much of the plot away, the final episode sees Edith a feisty activist, affected by a nuclear fall out in episode one, uploading memories to water molecules with two kind and compassionate nurses listening intently and guiding her through it. So is this what nurses will be doing in the future? Perhaps Russell’s imagination is a tad too creative, but it’s an issue people have been debating for many years, what will we need from our future nurses and how can the current healthcare workforce help them grow their skills? A peer review meeting last week posed the question ‘how are you preparing for the future nurse programme’. It was a good challenge!

I went back to a blog published by Jackie Smith, who was the CEO of the NMC in May 2018 The curriculum changes that are now being embedded follow a significant consultation that many of us inputted into.

Importantly many articulated that whilst fields of practice and in-depth knowledge of mental health, learning disabilities, adult and child were essential due to the complexity of need from each population group, all professionals need insight and experience of caring for people across all fields of practice. As a Children’s Nurse I’m delighted to see an increased focus on mental health and learning disabilities in the Children and Young People’s field of Nursing.

For us locally the new standards and associated curriculum will take affect in September 2019. It’s important our local teams are aware of the changes, so that we can proactively welcome, understand the needs and support our students as they embark on their careers and grow their ‘professional stories’ whilst working to achieve the professional proficiencies which are grouped in 7 platforms outlined here.

It’s helpful that all healthcare professionals, AHPs, Drs, Nurses and social workers can supervise nursing students going forward. Practice Supervisors (PSs) as these professionals are called, can document the student’s progress in their Practice Assessment Document (PAD). This is an important step forward in continuing to grow multi disciplinary and collaborative working cultures as the contribution of all professionals in training and educating nurses is valued and recognised.

Practice Assessors (PAs) are registered nurses who have been prepared for the role (this can now be locally delivered removing the need for attendance at a formal Approved Educational Institute/AEI Mentorship programme) PAs will support students, meeting them at the beginning of their placement, completing a mid point review and documenting progress in their ongoing record of achievement (OAR). They’ll work closely with PSs.

Academic Assessors who are University focused will support PAs to ensure that students are progressing through the programme appropriately, recording their progress in their ongoing record of achievement (OAR) too.

Getting our heads around these roles will of course become easier as the curriculum is embedded.

Our students bring so much to our environments, many are ‘digital natives’ which is incredibly helpful as the NHS continues to mature in its use of technology, no doubt our students will teach us how to use technology to its best advantage in healthcare and also offer IT solutions to our challenges too.

One of the areas that may be challenging is related to the clinical skills that are required of future nurses on which are outlined here We face some particular issues in children’s nursing as not all our nurses do venepuncture or cannulation, and catheterising boys is not something commonly done so we’re going to need consider how we address these challenges. I don’t think we’re alone in considering this and would value ideas from other units on this.

A colleague this week also flagged the importance of staff having a positive attitude to nurses embarking on this new curriculum and acquiring a range of clinical skills that some registered nurses may not have. Encouraging and creating learning opportunities is vitally important, which is why I think we need to be discussing these issues openly out in practice with nurses and healthcare professionals involved in direct care provision. I’d like to avoid student nurses having to justify in practice why they need to learn these clinical skills.

The future is full of opportunities to continue to raise the profile of nursing and grow the diversity of skills, knowledge and experience that we offer as a profession to improve lives and health outcomes across society. The Future Nurse curriculum supports us to do this.

Nursing as we know offers so many wonderful career paths. This week saw an exciting broadcast into schools by Trusts in East London supported by the local STP, East London Health and Care Partnership. It was great to see Nurses some of whom had been qualified for many years and Ahunna a student nurse reaching out and encouraging young people to consider joining us in the NHS all online, no travel required! I love this #NursingLondon film that Capital Nurse have produced And this #NHS recruitment film
is special, these were shared with the young people. I still value this Children’s Nursing recruitment film from the RCN too.

So as we continue to grow our future nursing workforce let’s encourage and nurture our students as the new curriculum is embedded across the country, after all we’re their role models… Gran in Years and Years would say it’s up to us

Author: @kathevans2

I’m a Children’s Nurse who is passionate about improving healthcare and life with people who use services. I love getting out in the countryside or to the seaside to promote my mental health and well-being. On a journey to doing 100 marathons (slowly!) & part of team #NHS1000miles (new members always welcome!) I also love charity shopping, cooking and healthy eating too 😉 Sharing thoughts on a range of things that interest me. Comments, challenge, links to further thinking and research are most welcome. Learning and thinking together is always more fun!

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