The new academic year is upon us, with students around the UK getting ready to either start or rejoin courses and educators preparing their teaching plans.
With this in mind, our September edition of Nursing Times is dedicated to supporting nurses in education, hearing from those working in the sector and exploring the challenges that it faces.
“There is a mismatch between policy aims and the reality at the coalface when it comes to numbers of students on nursing courses”
The recently published NHS workforce plan for England included an ambitious pledge to increase the number of nursing training places by 80% by 2031-32.
However, recent data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service has revealed that the number of people in the UK applying for undergraduate nursing courses has dropped by 16% this year.
As such, there is a mismatch between policy aims and the reality at the coalface when it comes to numbers of students on nursing courses.
The government has just announced that nursing students in England will be able to claim 50% more for the cost of accommodation and travel for their clinical placements. However, while welcome, this small move will not close the gap on its own.
We have spoken to nurse educators and employers faced with massively boosting nursing numbers at a time when interest in the profession seems to be declining.
The new leaders of the Council of Deans of Health have also shared their thoughts exclusively with Nursing Times on the problems facing universities and how change is needed.
Meanwhile, our clinical section looks at education from a career perspective, focusing on what it is like to transition from being a clinician to a lecturer.
Our latest Nursing Times student editors have also just completed their time with us and have been reflecting on their experiences in education. Two of their blogs are featured in this issue. That, of course, means I will soon be seeking a new group of student editors to write for Nursing Times. Look out for details in the coming weeks.
On other matters, readers will have been appalled at the details of the Lucy Letby case. We have spoken to neonatal nurse leaders and others about the impact of her crimes and the repercussions.