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Nurse First Programme Launched to Attract More Nurses

On 31st March 2016, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, Professor Jane Cummings has announced a new fast track ‘Nurse First’ programme to attract graduates from other subject areas into nursing.

The first successful applicants from a 'related discipline' will be recruited on to learning disability and mental health nursing career paths from September. Successful applicants will attend an educational course as well as receive hands on experience and training within the National Health Service (NHS).

The Nurse First programme is inspired by the Teach First programme and it will create a new postgraduate programme that will fast track high achievers to registered graduate nursing positions. It is hoped that the scheme will help address workforce capacity and support the development of future nurse leaders in key areas, targeting learning disabilities and mental health in the first instance.

Nurse First programme is part of the NHS Five Year Forward View Next Steps plan, which sets out how the NHS will employ and train the staff needed to meet the demands of the future population. The plans include:

  • Better use of digital technology and platforms to support patients to manage and improve their own health.
  • Expanding support roles in areas where shortages mean delays for patients.

The NHS will also focus on education and training, return to practice, general practice nursing, retention and the profile and image of nursing.

The chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing, Janet Davies praised the introduction of the Nurse First programme and said it would help to combat staffing shortages.

In the NHS, there is a serious shortage of nurses and unsafe staffing levels put high quality patient care at risk. Nursing is a hugely complex and responsible profession. It is important to focus on recalling nurses who are deciding to leave and offer flexible engagement to inspire people to return to nursing in the NHS.

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