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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

NHS patients are being put in danger when student nurses are left unsupervised in charge of wards.

Patients 'at risk as student nurses left alone' - Telegraph


"NHS patients are being put in danger because student nurses, sometimes only weeks into their training, are increasingly being left unsupervised in charge of wards.

A survey for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found that almost half of students had been placed in sole charge of patients without warning. Of these, nearly one in seven reported witnessing adverse events while unattended, such as patients falling over or suffering a rapid deterioration in condition.

The RCN said patient care was suffering drastically as a result, adding that students felt under pressure not to raise the matter with superiors because they did not want to appear to be out of their depth.

Guidelines state that student nurses should spend 40 per cent of clinical placements in hospitals with mentors and that they should only be left alone with patients in pre-arranged situations where they are supervised from a distance.

Dr Peter Carter, the general secretary of the RCN, said: "This is yet another example of how cost-cutting is compromising patient safety. Up and down the country, we are seeing nursing jobs being lost and posts being frozen to cut costs."