Seconding health care assistants to a pre-registration nursing course: evaluation of a novel scheme

Gould, Dinah, Carr, Graham, Kelly, Daniel and Brown, Pauline (2004) Seconding health care assistants to a pre-registration nursing course: evaluation of a novel scheme. Journal of Research in Nursing, 9 (1) . pp. 50-63. ISSN 1744-9871 [Article] (doi:10.1177/136140960400900110)


Traditionally in the United Kingdom, reliance has been placed on unqualified support workers, such as student nurses, to deliver a high proportion of patient care. However, the move of nurse education into higher education and the accompanying supernumerary status of student nurses in the 1980s resulted in a shortfall of staff to deliver that care. The government has made a number of suggestions for increasing recruitment. One possible solution regarded as very promising is to encourage health care assistants (HCAs) with at least 12 months' experience in the National Health Service to enrol on existing pre-registration programmes, providing them with financial incentives to do so. Very little literature directly concerned with training opportunities for HCAs could be traced, but it was evident that financial constraints and family commitments had, in the past, operated as disincentives to training, although some HCAs would otherwise be keen to register.

In 1999 one of the workforce development confederations in London responded to government policy by seconding HCAs onto a pre-registration programme operated by the local university. Plans for evaluation were made at the outset. Interviews were conducted with two consecutive intakes of secondees at three time intervals: after three months; after 12 months and during the final placement of the 36-month course. Interviews with other stakeholders were conducted just before the course ended. A qualitative approach was taken and the data were analysed employing the sequence recommended by Miles and Huberman (1994).

Evaluation highlighted important features of the secondment process contributing to its success and indicated pitfalls attached to introducing such schemes. It is recommended that evaluation should be extended to explore how the new staff nurses prepared by this novel scheme continue to develop their career trajectories. Given the emphasis now being placed on the 'skills escalator' model of staff development in the NHS, such approaches will assume even greater importance in future, and more extensive evaluations will be needed.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
Item ID: 3519
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Depositing User: Devika Mohan
Date Deposited: 30 Dec 2009 05:44
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:16

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