Atlantis Medical News

Lack of basic Maths and English hampering Nurses

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04 APR 2019

Even though there is an increasing demand for nurses, the Chief Executive of Health Education England has admitted that thousands of willing candidates rejected from accessing nursing associate courses. This situation is down to the fact that the applicants lack the required English or Maths skills.

Professor Ian Cumming was speaking at a summit recently, and he admitted this problem was one of the most significant “stumbling blocks” in the attempt to increase nursing numbers.

He said; “We have had to turn away a large number of people, I’m talking thousands of people, who wanted to access training to become a nursing associate but they didn’t have the basic numeracy or literacy that was required.“

This isn’t the first time that this point has arisen. Therefore, it is an issue worth considering. The problem is, it is understandable that nurses need to offer a certain level of English and be confident with numbers. Clear communication is essential, and there is a need to ensure calculations are correct. When you consider the importance of dosage in medicine, basic Math skills need to be a priority in the recruitment process.

There is a north and south divide in undergraduate nursing numbers

Another issue highlighted in the summit was the significant regional variation in undergraduate student nurse numbers in England. There are many more student nurses in the north of the country than in the south. Professor Cumming said, “We have seen quite a significant growth in undergraduate nurses in the north of the country and we have seen a lack of growth in nursing students in the south of the country.”

A recommendation has been made to address this problem, with Professor Cummings saying; “The variations are absolutely immense and I firmly believe that if we can take this best practice, if we can encourage people to adopt this best practice, then that will get us a long way down the line to solving these real challenges we have at the moment.”

Patient interaction figures indicate the pressure on the NHS

One way we see the need for medical professionals is by reviewing the level of patient interaction with clinicians. Since 2005, this rate has more than doubled. In 2005, the rate stood at a million patients every 36 hours but currently holds at one million patients every 17 hours. The level of pressure on the NHS and its professionals has significantly increased in recent times, which creates a more difficult situation for employees.

At Atlantis Medical, we are aware of the pressures nurses face in their daily routine, and we know that there is a need for more nurses. However, there is a need to bring in qualified staff, and this means that the right employees must have basic skills that allow them to do their job correctly. There is a need for support and guidance in developing these attributes, which will not only help the nursing sector, it will help the entire country.


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