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Nursing shortage preventing access to crucial training, says RCN

The RCN revealed that 18.3% of more than 14,000 nursing staff surveyed were unable to complete essential training in the last year, 44.4% said they were unable to complete training because there were too few staff to cover their work.

Half of the 48% of nursing staff that had undertaken training said they had no cover when they were absent from normal duties – potentially putting patients at risk. This also meant one in 10 had to use annual leave and complete compulsory training in their own time.

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said: “It is absolutely critical that all nurses receive essential training each year to maintain standards of care for patients, and it is extremely worrying that almost one in five nurses has not been able to do this…Whoever forms the next Government must ensure that access to training is a fundamental part of its offer to nursing staff who keep the NHS going day after day, year after year. RCN members have highlighted this as one of their main priorities for the future of the health service ahead of the General Election".

Staff shortages and budget shortfalls still causing problems

The findings come despite a similar RCN survey highlighting problems in 2010. While there has been some improvement, findings suggest that ongoing staff shortages and budget shortfalls are still significant barriers, with more than a third (34.5%) of nurses not feeling up to date with core training in the profession.

Access to Continuing Professional Development training was also found to be low, despite the NMC requiring all nurses to complete at least 35 hours of training over three years. More than a quarter (26.3%) of respondents reported that they had no access to structured CPD, with a similar amount (26.2%) maintaining that CPD opportunities have worsened over the past 5 years.

Nursing staff are using their own time and money for training

The report found that 85% of nursing staff have done CPD activities in their own time during the last year, while just under a quarter (24.9%) have used annual leave. Although the percentage of nurses funding their own training has declined since 2010, almost a third (31.4%) still have to fund CPD themselves.

Potential issues with revalidation

The NMC’s new system of revalidation will require nurses to demonstrate that they have undertaken 40 hours of CPD over a three year period.

Less than half those surveyed (45.3%) felt confident their employer will give them access to sufficient professional development. 




27 April 2015


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