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Addressing the practice learning and placement capacity conundrum

14 October 2021
3 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 18

Placement expansion is a national strategic priority. Meeting the Government's intention of delivering 50 000 extra nurses for the NHS and achieving the growth in placement capacity required for this (Department of Health and Social Care, 2020), against a backdrop of disruption to clinical and education services, and buoyant recruitment to healthcare programmes, can feel a challenge. But it is one that has coincided with a time of significant opportunity.

First, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2018) Future Nurse standards set the ambition of what needs to be achieved at the point of registration, paving the way for diversifying practice learning opportunities beyond existing ways of working. Additionally, the UK's exit from the EU brings opportunities to distance itself from EU directives that are no longer fit for purpose (Leigh, 2021).

Work completed in the Health Education England (HEE) South East Region has demonstrated that averaging demand for placements across the calendar year would mean that there is better utilisation of existing capacity for pre-registration students, with these practices already in place across Greater Manchester. Although this makes logistical sense, there is a need for balance against the constraints faced by education providers, student expectations, and wider considerations such as the recommendations of the Reducing Pre-registration Attrition and Improving Retention (RePAIR) project (HEE, 2018).

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