RNs are one of the fastest growing careers in the UK, with more than 400,000 registered nurses across the country.
They’re the health professionals who help manage the country’s healthcare infrastructure and make sure patients have access to safe and quality healthcare.
But as a new survey shows, there’s a lot of room for improvement.
A new survey by the UK’s Nursing Association found that just half of RNs have completed at least a year of training.
The survey was conducted by a team of nurses from the Nursing Training Institute (NTI) and the University of London, and the results show that nearly a quarter of RN graduates who had completed their training did not have the skills to work in the NHS.
“This is not a situation where we are making huge strides,” NTI director of research Paul D’Ambrosio told The Verge.
“But the more we do the more people we have to speak to and find solutions to.”
A number of factors make it harder for nurses to get their first jobs, D’Ambroio added, including the fact that there’s limited training in the field.
The shortage of nurses is also a barrier to getting training, since most nurses are trained on an apprenticeship basis.
This is particularly true for nurses who have already completed two years of nursing, since the NHS is only offering one year of nursing training to anyone who has completed two-and-a-half years of training before graduation.
The NTI and the U.K.’s Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) recommend RNs should complete at least three years of education before they can become registered nurses.
The survey also found that fewer than half of nurses were able to get the qualifications they need to work as nurses.
The study, which is based on interviews with 4,000 nurses and nurses’ partners, found that less than 10% of RN recruits who had finished two years had completed three years.
In comparison, about half of other nurses surveyed had completed at most one year.
“It is important to recognise that RNs with the same qualifications as a general practitioner or an associate doctorate, or who are trained as an RN, are more likely to have access,” D’Armoio said.
“This is a big issue because there are a lot more people who want to become RNs.”
D’Ambrookio said that RN candidates are still being taught the basics of RN education, but he said they needed to be prepared to teach themselves.
“We need to be really mindful of what we are teaching the RNs, because that’s where we’ll need to do the best job of training them to get them into the right positions,” he said.
“And if you don’t have that, then you don, too.”
The new study also showed that RN applicants who completed three-and a-half-years of training were less likely to get job offers, as compared to applicants who did not complete their training.
And while it’s important to have a “pass” on RNs from a general medical background, less than a quarter (24%) of candidates who had a “bachelor’s” degree said they had been offered a job.
“As we get older and people with more experience, there is a lot less chance that we’ll be looking for a general doctorate,” Dang said.
The number of RN applicants without a general or doctorate degree has risen steadily since the last survey in 2016, Dang added.
The number of applications has increased by about 25% since the 2016 survey.
“I would say that there is certainly a bit of a lack of confidence in the profession,” Dung said.
A spokesperson for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that the report highlights the need to strengthen the profession.
“We recognise the importance of improving training and qualification opportunities for RNs in order to support their future career prospects, and look forward to working with the NHS to identify ways to help address this issue,” the spokesperson said.
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“The RCN has worked closely with the UK Government to address the shortage of general and doctorate-trained RNs and is working with its workforce partners to provide training for all applicants,” the RCN spokesperson added.
“In addition, the RCM will continue to monitor the level of skills required in the RN field and look at the potential of the profession for those with higher skills.”
The RCM has previously been vocal about the need for RN training, and has called for a new NHS Act, in which RNs would be required to hold a “recognised degree” or higher.