Nursing leaders are skeptical despite the record number of students enrolled in nursing courses.


In England 20,930 students were placed in undergraduate nursing courses.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it remains skeptical despite a record number of female nursing students who have been accepted into undergraduate nursing courses in England.

In England for the 2021-2022 academic year, 20,930 students were placed in undergraduate nursing courses, an increase of 11.5% from 2020.

The image is not as good in other parts of the UK. In Wales there was a marginal increase of less than 1%. While in Northern Ireland the number of acceptances for nursing courses fell by 11%, and in Scotland there was a drop of 3%.

The increase in numbers has been attributed to the “nightingale effect”. With an already high attrition rate compared to other undergraduate degrees, many are concerned that this large number of female nursing students will not translate into an increase in the number of registered nurses once the students have completed their studies. experience of the harsh realities of the profession.

Nursing remains one of the lowest paid graduate occupations, which is also currently experiencing record levels of mental illness absences.

Not equivalent to recording the number of nurses.

The RCN says that “the number of acceptances still does not keep pace with vacancies” and that exhausted nurses can only increase.

RCN England Director Patricia Marquis said: “This latest increase in acceptances to nursing courses is encouraging and is no doubt the result of the high visibility and professionalism of nurses during the pandemic.

“But a record number of acceptances does not equal a record number of nurses entering the workforce, as many of these students will not be eligible until 2024 and beyond.

“There are already significant nursing staff shortages and it is clear that the number of acceptances is still not keeping pace with vacancies.

“The pressures of the pandemic have also exhausted nurses. This not only endangers patient care, but means students risk not completing their education and entering the workforce.

“Ministers must reverse the 3% wage agreement if we are to discourage many from leaving the profession, leaving future nurses without the expert education they need. “

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