Training nurses: ‘a full day is 10 to 3′

The husband of a trainee nurse emailed me and mentioned that a third of the trainees drop out after only eight months. I asked why. This is his reply, which makes it appear that the training of nurses has gone beyond absurdity into a scandalous misdirected use of taxpayers’ money:

They just appear to get fed up and wander off! There doesn’t seem to be a “reason”. The practice part of the job was hard work, but they were dropping well before that. One left four days after the start of the course.
To be honest, it’s a complete skive as far as I can see. On Monday, she does about 90 minutes. Tuesday is a full day, Wednesday about half a day, Thursday is a “study day” e.g usually nothing, and Friday is a full day.
I reckon it is about 40% of “full time” study, most of which is lectures. A “full day” is more like 10:00 to 3:00 not what you are I would consider a full day. If they got on with it, they could probably do it in 2 years of full time courses.

The essays are short and easy (2 x 3000 word essays per year) and you get 6 weeks to do them in (and more time off to do them in). It’s not particularly high level stuff at all; you can’t write anything in depth in 3000 words really, and the essays are multiple-topic, so you are really only writing a few hundred words on each part. The hard part is fitting it into 3300 words (you can go 10% either way). I spent an hour pruning her first essay just to get it down to size.
I *think* they are used to having things on a plate and can’t cope with being expected to work for it, be marked on their essays and so on, general lack of gumption, and I suspect they think it’s going to be like “Casualty”.
Like any other caring job, there’s a fair amount of messy stuff and that puts people off.
And I suspect it’s the old “instant gratification” requirement. I
suspect you’ve read “All Must Have Prizes”, it’s like that but worse. It’s also the move towards degrees in Nursing, i.e. an academic qualification. Nursing is not an academic skill really IMO.
The work appear to bear little resemblance to actual “nursing” ; it is all the codswallop about “facilitation” groups, they have discussions and presentations a lot of the time, there are reams of documentation which seem to be box ticking jobbies of the type that the DfES produces daily, producing evidence that course targets are met presumably to be fed back purely to tick more boxes. A background in teaching was handy for me to translate this into coherent English ;-) [smile] I think the end of year “exam” is a
short multiple choice test.
There was no training (literally) in actual useful skills – taking
pulses and so on – until the week before the first placement, when they had a few days of crash training. Not a good way to learn a skill really.
The bit that is hard is the practice ; this has involved 8 or 9 consecutive 10 hour days with awkward shift patterns apparently constructed at random – and lots of weekends ; my wife has said that there seems to be more students about at weekends, and certainly she’s worked for more Saturdays and Sundays than anything else -
but she can’t really complain. Certainly her shift pattern would be
unworkable over a long period ; you would just simply collapse. She says friends of hers have done 7 days in a row 12 hour shifts. But I don’t think this has made a massive difference, people were dropping out on the above timetable.
I don’t think it is at all unusual. A friend of ours is in the last year of a Mental Health Nursing course at the same hospital reckons about a third of the students are left from the start 2 1/2 years ago.
No-one appears bothered about the dropout rate. It appears to be
accepted as the norm.

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