Saturday, 17 March 2018

Metal Nurse: Education matters

There is a very dangerous undercurrent of thought going on, which is veering very closely to becoming an drowning wave. It's the thought that nurses do not need to be educated. Let alone university educated. The odd thing is that this thought is so utterly prevalent in England, whereas the rest of the world have all been giving nurses degrees that take 4 years to obtain. But here on Blighty, being educated is somehow oddly frowned upon. I'll just put it very simply:

Education Matters. Education Save Lives. 

Good education can be the difference between life and death. I have written about this previously. I know a fair few people will not believe and often will scoff at the idea. But it is true. Patients are safer. Patients live longer. Patients are less likely to die. And that is what everyone who is involved in healthcare should want. That is what the government should want. But it would seem that this present government don't actually care, they've removed the bursaries. Thus making what was already a challenging course into debt laden amalgamation of Gladiator and Mastermind. This is not helped by NHS England cutting the CPD funding right down to the bone. Meaning that existing nurse do not have the opportunity to further their own education. That there will be less training available to supplement already existing nurses skills. Thus providing fewer opportunities for nurses to further their own career. This doesn't just affect the nurses future opportunities, it also affects the patients present care.

Since making nursing an all degree course there have of course been scoff of derision from a lot of other nurses and carers who had been in the profession for a long time. The same scoff of derision when Project 2000 was introduced, when nursing was systematically removed from largely hospital based to largely university based. But it was held up often by more experienced staff who somehow thought that nursing and medicine was more based on intuition, feelings and experience. These people did not want their authority challenged. They would also scoff and spit out phrases like "They are too posh to wash" or "These people come from uni and don't understand personal care", first of all the former is complete and utter bunk and as for the latter that is what placement mentors are for. To teach student nurse, which included personal care. That is why they are on placement, it is to learn how to care for their patients and how to put what they learn in university into practice.

 "What does writing a 4000 word essay about XYZ got to do with real life nursing"... Well quite a lot actually, when you are writing about a particular subject it gives you chance to not just look at THAT particular subject but the subjects that connect to it. Also if the student nurse is on placement during that time they get to put what they learn into practice (Again). If it is do to with a certain ailment or medication or treatment, then more often that not these students then get to know patients better. In order to develop a better understanding of how all of those things come together. Plus also when you qualify there is an awful lot of writing you have to do. In many forms, whether that is as part of a nursing record. Reflection. Statement. Incident report.

Being a qualified nurse is a huge responsibility and when you learn how to write things, you also get to learn how to justify your actions, you get to learn how and why you need to challenge things as your patients advocate.

That is why you write essays. Because you NEED to know these things. You need to know WHY you are doing the stuff you are doing. You cannot just say "Because we have always done it this way". It is not an option. The patients care depends on this. The patients LIVES depend on this.

Whilst I do agree that experience is important. Experience tempered with knowledge is even better. And knowledge is better coming from a systematic education, which is based on the latest research and evidence, rather then as an ad-hoc on the job hoofing which is usually mentioned as an afterthought. This helps no one, least of all the patient who should be at the centre of this. Caring is important part of being a nurse, but... being caring is not the ONLY thing that makes a good nurse. A lot of people seem to get hung up on that fact. A good nurse does not just care, but they also know. Education matters. Good education saves lives.
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