Getting talented young people into nursing is a key way to improve the profession; however, there are several obstacles that are preventing this from happening. A recent report from the Open University (OU) has identified these, and estimates that without them the NHS could hire an extra 10,100 nurses in ten years’ time, with another 4,340 students preparing to become qualified.
This is significant at a time when there are around 11,000 vacancies for full-time nurses in the UK. According to the OU’s research, 30 per cent of young people have considered becoming a nurse but changed their mind. This was partially because of several barriers to entry the OU identified.
For example, 33 per cent of people surveyed by the OU said money was a factor in their decision not to become a nurse. This was largely to do with the cost of studying, with tuition fees, paying off student loans and travelling to lectures all cited as part of the reasons for finance being such a barrier.
Just under a quarter (24 per cent) were worried about how long they would have to work and about having little control over their hours, and the same amount were concerned about how much pressure the job would involve.
There were some positives to come out of this study, however. Half of current nursing students had doubts before they started studying nursing, but these had been mitigated since then. One of the main reasons for this was finding out about the support that is available from the NHS.
The OU has provided some ideas for how to remove the existing barriers preventing people from going into nursing. One of these is to promote positive stories about nursing to counteract some of the negative spin put on the profession by some media sources. Another is to take advantage of apprenticeships, so nurses can earn some money while they train.
Written by James Puckle
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