The supervisor conundrum
Nurse education providers across the UK have seen a significant growth in applications to pre-registration nursing programmes, with a rise of 34% in England alone (Health Education England (HEE) (2021). In response, HEE pledged £15m for additional clinical placements across nursing, midwifery, allied health professions and healthcare science. However, one could argue that, even with funding to support extra supervision and coaching models, there is limited capacity to increase student numbers within an already saturated NHS. Instead, it requires leaders of practice learning to lobby our regulatory body (Nursing and Midwifery Council) (NMC) to remove barriers that prevent the expansion of practice learning environments to deliver practice education for the future workforce.
There is a growing shortage of clinical placements due to the government policy of recommending care is brought closer to home away from the acute sector (NHS England/NHS Improvement, 2019). The halving of hospital bed numbers in England between 1987-1988 and 2018-2019 to 141 000 (Anandaciva, 2020) coincided with increased student intake. Therefore, there is a need to better use private, independent and voluntary organisations (PIVOs). These have often been established by unregistered professionals with personal experience of a particular social need who are often living the experience, who often have personal links with populations they serve.
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