The government has announced a £25m boost for nurse training which will see nurses and other healthcare students benefit from expanded virtual training, and the launch of a new national critical care qualification for qualified nurses.
Up to £15m of the funding will go to universities to invest in new simulated training facilities and technology. This can involve the use of virtual reality (VR) technology, manikins, role play, and smart phones, tablets or computers, allowing nursing students to practise their clinical skills in a safe environment. They will be able to train themselves on clinical procedures and simulate a realistic clinical setting with the support from experienced colleagues.
It comes after the Nursing and Midwifery Council announced up to 300 of the 2,300 clinical practice hours nurses need to complete during their degree can now be completed in simulated environments, due to the pandemic.
Alongside this, the government will also invest £10 million to develop a new, nationally recognised, critical care qualification for qualified nurses, which can also be accessed by a number of Allied Health professions. This will be rolled out for immediate use during the pandemic to help boost the number of people able to work in critical care.
Professor Mark Radford, Chief Nurse, Health Education England said: “We welcome this support on simulation hours from the NMC in support of students, which will build on universities’ existing expertise in the education of healthcare workers for the NHS and social care. During the COVID pandemic, we recognise and very much value the massive contribution of our students and universities, along with all NHS staff. This further investment will directly support students to further their studies and qualify.
“Working with critical care organisations, we have rapidly designed new innovative education options to provide additional support to the NHS. It’s vital that we look for as many diverse and flexible routes into training as possible, and this announcement will help make the most of the technology available to support nurses on that journey.”