Nurses are being forced to use their annual leave to attend vital training courses, a new poll has revealed.
According to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) 34% have had to book holiday to train in areas including basic life-support and managing infections such as MRSA.
The survey involved 3,000 nurses, with 44% claiming a lack of staff and cover were the main reasons why they could not attend the sessions.
The RCN said cutbacks had led to nurses missing out on training or being forced to use their own time.
The poll found 39% of nurses had spent their own cash to keep up with developments in areas like infection and child protection.
Overall, 56% of nurses said they felt up-to-date with their training.
Janet Davies, executive director of nursing and service delivery for the RCN, said: "We know from previous economic downturns that training is often the first place managers look when they need to start making cuts, even though nurses need to be up to date with issues such as infection control and child protection at all times."
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "The 2009 NHS staff survey showed that four out of five staff have received job relevant training and that there has been a 5% increase in the number of staff receiving appraisals, an 8% increase in equality and diversity training and a 5% increase in infection control training."
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"What about vital training not being implemented after training? l have Implanon insertion and removal skill, which l have been practising in the last year in sexual health clinic and recently in general practice. I had to asked patient to go elsewhere because the PCT nurse practice lead has asked me to discontinued as l am the only practice nurse with the skill and therefore she needs to get some implementation guidance in place. This is over 5 months ago without practising" - Clem, London
"I a nursing student and believe in certain areas nurses may have training but do not adapt to new and sometimes improved techniques. I also believe start training is not enough to keep nurses clinical skills up to date" - Tiffeny, Shropshire
"I feel that there is greater need now than before to keep nurses up to date with their training because nurses are dealing with the population that is informed about certain issues via internet and other sources. That requires responses that are researched and factual. Training may be available but because of work demands, staff shortages and time consuming technology (learning on the job) ICT/Rio etc are taking their toll on already stretched staff. Not forgetting cuts on training as already mentioned. Therefore, nurses are forced to get training on their annual leave because its the only time they can focus and update themselves. But that increases the levels of stress since other important elements of the nurses' lives are neglected leaving no time to relax" - Tsitsi Masukume, London
"I think that the general public expect nurses to be more knowledgeable and professional than ever before but they are unaware how much funding and staff numbers have decreased making these expectations impossible. The public are at real risk of not getting the standard they need and should get" - Janet Fry, Dorset
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