By Kim Moore, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health
Over the past year nursing associations and the Royal colleges of Nursing and Midwifery all predicted the abolition of the nursing bursary would lead to a reduction in applications for university applicants for nursing courses. Today, that prediction seems to have been realised with a national drop in university applications particularly for nursing programs. Is Brexit to blame? Some might argue that uncertainty over withdrawal will impact nursing now and in the future and must surely be a factor to be considered.
The reality of nursing within the UK health system is like being at the edge of a precipice – you know what is coming. The fact that the NHS is under serious strain, there is already an ongoing shortage of nurses in most hospitals impacting on the quality of care and the ability of services to cope which is anticipated to become increasingly severe. We know that acute care is important, yet within all these discussions and debates about the future of the nursing workforce, our focus on acute care is distracting us from all other nursing fields. The impact on child nursing, district nursing, school nursing, learning disabilities, mental health, midwifery and practice nursing barely gets a mention, yet each of these health areas is affected equally by these changes.
It is clear that urgent attention needs to be given to the future of nursing education as well as staffing issues if nurses are to survive within the NHS and continue with their vital contributions to health services.
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