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Pre-nursing experience (pilots)


Earlier this year, the government, in its response to the Francis Inquiry into the failings at Mid Staffordshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, asked Health Education England (HEE) to work with partners across the NHS and higher education to pilot a scheme whereby aspirant student nurses spend up to a year on the frontline prior to receiving NHS funding for their degree.

In his Inquiry, Robert Francis called for an increased focus in nurse training and education on the practical requirements of delivering compassionate care and evidence of the appropriate values, attitudes and behaviours.

The pilots will explore the most appropriate timescale for the scheme, and will be evaluated for the ability to test for values and behaviours and reductions in attrition rates.

Health Education England has confirmed that pilots will take place in a range of NHS/care settings in six of its thirteen local areas. These are:

  • East of England
  • East Midlands
  • North Central and East London
  • North East
  • North West
  • West Midlands

Participants in the pilot will:

  • Be a pioneer in a new learning opportunity for people who want to go to university to train as a nurse
  • Get paid to gain vital experience of caring for patients on the front line of the NHS
  • Find out whether a caring career really is right for them so they can make the right choice
  • Have support in their application for university to train as a nurse
  • Part of a drive to widen participation in the NHS and encourage people from a wide variety background, no previous care experience necessary to apply.

Up to 200 aspirant nurses have been recruited in care settings in six areas across England to get real, paid caring experience for up to year as a Healthcare Assistant before they apply to take up an NHS-funded degree course.

HEE seeks to embed the missions and values of the new NHS Constitution in the recruitment and education and training of staff working in health and healthcare.

The evaluation reports and supporting documents can be found in the related documents section below.

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