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Health academics call for debate about changes to nursing education

Future nurses will need to work autonomously with self-confidence and “emotional resilience” to cope with workplace pressures, according to a new report

Future nurses will need to work autonomously with self-confidence and “emotional resilience” to cope with workplace pressures, according to a new report.  

Leaders in the health higher education sector at the Council of Deans of Health have called for debate about how pre-registration nursing education can best prepare students for the changing roles of registered nurses.

A new report, Educating the Future Nurse, calls for more emphasis on promoting health and wellbeing, supporting self-care, research, and the flexibility to work across care boundaries.

The report says: “The likely pressures on services and the expected leadership role of registered nurses mean that education programmes will need to consider how to best help students develop emotional resilience and self-confidence, enabling them to manage themselves under pressure.”

It adds: “They [nurses] will need to be able to work across an increasing variety of care contexts and organisational boundaries – including working between primary and community care and hospitals, often in an integrated care context.”

The NMC is currently reviewing the standards for pre-registration nursing education, which will be ready for programmes to adopt by September 2019.

In light of the review, the report recommends preparing new graduates to keep learning throughout their careers and adapt to changes in how care is delivered.

Professor Jan Draper, chair of the Council’s advisory group on the future nurse, said: “The review presents an opportunity to stimulate debate on the future direction of nurse education and the ways in which universities and practice organisations work together to design models of practice learning, including how to best develop high quality practice educators to ensure nurses have the requisite skills and competencies needed at the start of their careers”.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar added that the report was “welcome”, adding that it is “encouraging” to see the future of graduate nursing aligned with the NMC’s vision.

She said: “Ensuring that nurses and midwives are equipped for the future in the context of a rapidly changing health and care environment is critical to our role in protecting the public.

“We will continue to work closely with the Council of Deans of Health, universities, practice organisations and other stakeholders to develop education standards that are fit for the future as part of our Education Strategic Plan.”

The Council of Deans of Health represents UK university faculties offering nursing and midwifery courses.