Continuing pressure on the NHS this winter, understaffed health services and a lack of funding has resulted in many nurses being denied clinical training.
A Royal College of Nursing (RCN) report has claimed that the current situation might lead to nurses being removed from the register – which will add to the epidemic of staff shortages.
‘For the sake of patient safety, nurses must be allowed to keep up-to-date with developments and advance into tomorrow’s nurse leadership positions,’ said Janet Davies, RCN chief executive of the RCN.
‘Policymakers and employers must find a way to fund and guarantee this time. Nurses must not be allowed to fall foul of the regulator’s requirement.’
Nurses must have access to continuing professional development (CPD) to guarantee their knowledge and skills are up to date with the latest developments in medicine and practice.
Employers must ensure that nurses have access to CPD modules and set aside time for their completion, but this time has been cancelled often due to the ‘winter crisis’ and funding cuts have caused the amount of available courses to decrease.
The report has found that a third of nurses told the NMC during the revalidation process that they had only achieved 10 or fewer hours of CPD each year – when they should be reaching the minimum 35 hours required.
Winter pressures and nursing shortages meant that many staff were overworked, despite most nurses working extra unpaid hours on top of this. The Safe and Effective Staffing: Nursing Against the Odds report from the RCN in 2017 saw 93% of nurses working unpaid extra hours.
‘We are embarking on a significant amount of work to engage with members on this issue, including progressing our calls to action,’ the report said.
‘The RCN is mapping career development and progression as well as developing a resource collaboratively with a range of UK wide stakeholders, including HEE among others.’
The report also has a call to action for the government and relevant health bodies to ‘urgently launch a strategic communications initiative matched by funding’ as well as dedicated funding and increased CPD access for nurses.