Yesterday the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, declared that would-be nurses should spend a year doing hands-on care, working directly with health care assistants, in order to be eligible for funded nursing degrees. Today it occurs to me that large sections of the population may be labouring under the misapprehension that student nurses currently spend their whole three years sitting in classrooms. So let me join the queue of people who have already pointed out that, absolutely, they do not. In order to register, students are required to spend half of their time working directly in practice. This point, plus others, was very well-made by the University of Southampton student (whose name I cannot remember, unfortunately) who was interviewed on this matter on yesterday’s BBC News. Bearing in mind that nursing degrees are lengthy affairs (the terms are much longer than those followed by students of most other disciplines), the amount of time learners spend doing care work is already significant.
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