Who ever stops to question the massive cost of transferring nursing training from the old system of apprenticeship on the wards to universities under the ideological aegis of the educational establishment, ‘the Blob’?
The answer to that question is not many, and certainly not politicians. Ann Bradshaw, a senior lecturer in adult nursing at Oxford Brookes University, however, has. In a revelatory article entitled ‘To degree or not to degree: that is NOT the question for UK nursing’ in Times Higher Education this week, she looks back at the debate at the time that turned nursing into a university degree.
It was not, she explains, motivated by a desire to improve patient care rather to increase the status of the profession. Though the claim was that it would improve recruitment, which she says was not a problem then, it has become one since.
Twenty-five years later, as nurses’ demand for their roles to expand into medical and surgical practice, Bradshaw looks at how well the generic nursing degree fits them for this. In short, not well. For the full explanation you need to read the article here.
And it raises further worrying questions: not just regarding the monetary cost to the changeover, calculated in 1992 to be three-quarters of a billion pounds, mainly for the extra auxiliary staff the revolution required, but also the consequences for care and competence. Has it been this quest for status that has smashed what was once the the world’s best nursing system into dust and ashes?
Let us know what you think.