Innovative programme for student nurses

2 July 2015

On 4 June student nurses from the Royal Free London were invited for morning coffee with Caroline Alexander, chief nurse for London at NHS England.

The student nurses are part of a pilot group currently undertaking their BSc nursing qualification at Middlesex University, as part of an innovative programme developed by the Royal Free London in partnership with Middlesex University.

The Francis Inquiry (2012) and Cavendish Report (2013) emphasised the need for employers to focus on the bands 2-4 nursing and midwifery workforce and so an in-depth analysis of this workforce was undertaken by the nursing and midwifery education team at the Royal Free London. The analysis found that a significant number of staff working within these posts had overseas nursing registration, but were unable to work as nurses as they lacked UK registered nurse status. The trust had a shortage of registered nurses and was actively recruiting overseas from the EU to fill positions, but the analysis had found a potential workforce already in employment in the trust that could help to fill this gap if a programme could be developed to help them to become registered nurses.

The trust seconded 24 members of staff to Middlesex University in 2014 and the group are now undertaking the innovative programme, which is funded by Health Education North Central and East London (HENCEL). The programme provides a new route to UK nursing registration for overseas registered nurses and allows them to use their previous education and experience to gain the qualification within 18 months.

The students took part in an interactive discussion in the meeting with Caroline Alexander and presented their experiences of this innovative pilot programme.

Maggie Maxfield, lead nurse for bands 2-4 training and development at the Royal Free London, said: “The students all presented their experiences of this innovative pilot programme to Caroline Alexander. They are overwhelmingly grateful for this opportunity and took time to thank HENCEL, the university and the trust. Their commitment and enthusiasm was clear for all to see.”