Nursing Crisis Looms as Student Applications Fall by 23%

The Guardian reported (2nd February 2017) that student applications to nursing courses had fallen by 23% this year. This is the first year that nursing students will not receive government busraries to cover fees and costs.

Paradoxically, Government abandoned the bursaries partly to save money and partly to allow the number of students to increase.

The applications from 18 year olds seem to have held up but those from older applicants have fallen drastically. This will mean less nurse.s qualifying in three years time. But in the meantime, since student nurses spend half their time in active placements this will mean progressively fewer staff on hospital wards from next year.

In addition to these losses it is expected that recruitment from the EU will be down and unlikely to recover, given Brexit, pay restraint and a devalued pound sterling.

The accumulation of these effects is likely to lead to a severe crisis and an emergency drive to recruit from outside Europe to jobs which we might well have been filled by British nurses had we maintained the numbers in training.