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Nursing to become a Degree only Profession

By Wednesday 18 November 2009Health

In the News a few weeks ago (see BBC News – Nursing to become graduate entry) it was announced that Nurses from 2013 will only be able to train at Degree level. I have mixed feelings about this.

I am proud to be a Nurse. I originally trained as a Diploma student purely for financial reasons. In doing the Diploma the NHS paid all of my tuition fees and gave me a small monthly bursary. If this had not been on offer it would have not been financially viable for me to train. My fellow Diploma students were mostly in their late twenties or early thirties and had young families, the tuition fees and the small bursary enabled them to train. These mature students all reported that they wouldn’t have been able to afforded financially to do the Degree course as they would have had to pay all their own tuition fees and received no bursary. My fellow students I saw on the wards and found them to be caring and ultimately became very knowledgeable competent Nurses.

Social Work is a graduate only profession, meaning that all Social Workers trained after a certain point are degree qualified. Making Nursing a degree level profession adds credibility to the profession, increases Nurses knowledge and overall will enhance patient care. Indeed I have recently gone back to University to upgrade my Diploma to a Degree (see Back to University). All Nurses would agree that enhancing patient care is always a positive thing. So there are lots of positives to making Nursing a degree level profession.

My fear is that people don’t always go in to Nursing as their first profession (i.e. straight from school / college) such as my forma colleagues who were mature students who struggle financially. And even some people who are not mature students such as myself couldn’t have afforded to go in to Nursing if it was a Degree only profession. Therefore we potentially could miss out on some people who have the potential to be good Nurses (i.e. have a caring nature, a desire to make a difference, etc.). So my message to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the NHS, the educational institutions and the government is:
Continue to make Nurse training financially viable for people from all walks of life regardless of: gender, sexuality, race, religion & disability.

Take Care,


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  • Sye says:

    I think the nursing degree’s are better funded than normal degrees (at salford at least) because you have all your loans and grants available to you as an undergrad on top of your nursing bursary.

    I am on HND now, and am pretty much financially sound. Of course I come from a poor family background so my income is assesed as such, so I get all the money that is available.

    I think making Nursing a degree only profession lends a lot of credibility to nurses in general, and raises the so called ‘glass cieling’.

  • Mike says:

    Having nursing as a graduate profession will help them gain status in a field dominated by doctors. The profession has moved from porter-cum-cleaner to genuinely expert medical practice; nurse consultants leading on patient care, prescribing medicines, deciding who gets what treatment – and thank God. Their dedication is really what has improved the NHS over the last few years (I know; I help to run it!!). You raise some great points and if people get put off for financial reasons, then that has to be tackled head on – but I don’t think the fee structure of universities, given the bursaries grants and loans available, will be a huge hurdle.

  • Antony says:

    Hi Mike,

    Yeah you reminded me of the impact Nurses have had on the NHS, going from doctors handmaidens to where we are now. 🙂

    A x

  • A Nurse says:

    Hello, I’m a nurse student and this post is very helpul to me. Thank you!

  • Antony says:

    Your most welcome A Nurse!

    A x

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