In the UK, health care is publicly funded by tax collections and private donations. Because of this there is always a need to cut costs without reducing the level of health care the public receives. The latest move by officials in charge of the National Health System was to develop a new level of health care provider called the assistant nurse. This new level of health care provider is a step below a nurse, and one level up from a healthcare assistant.
Unlike the healthcare assistants, the assistant nurse’s education will be focused on the clinic section of patient care. This is to include the administering of medications to patients with a prescription. The idea of introducing this level of medical professional is to free up the nurses so they can care for more patients in areas a fully trained nurse is required.
Before this new position was rolled out into service in the national health care system in the UK, a group from the academia section of society decided to conduct a research on their possible impact on the quality of care this new position might provide.
There were several countries where the data from surveys was collected and reviewed. The biggest problem with the research and the results is that the assistant nurse is a new position that does not exist anywhere else in the world. This included several locations in the EU and in America where the surveys involved in the research of the UK academia professionals were drawing their conclusions from.
What was noticed and reported upon in the research was that with a 10% increase in qualified nursing staff at a facility, this resulted in 11% fewer deaths of patients. Patients who received more care from nurses also responded positively when asked about the quality of care they received. The research also revealed that there was a death rate for discharged patients of 1.28% when a healthcare assistant was involved in providing care to the patient.
The training of the new assistant nurses would be 2 years in length which involves more in depth training in providing proper care to patients compared to what the current healthcare assistant is required to obtain.
What the research and findings reported was that with better staffing of qualified nurses tending to the needs of the sick and injuries, better care overall was provided. However, after reviewing the findings a statement from the UK Department of Health was released questioning them due to a lack of evidence of the benefits that having an assistant nurse would provide.
The need for a new level of health care worker was evident from the findings and the new assistant nurse might just help fill this need. With a shortage of qualified nurses being present, the assistant nurse could help fill the gap, even if only temporarily until nursing staff levels improved.
What the new assistant nurses will do is help free up the fully qualified nurses for the patients who require more intensive care. This will help fill the needs of patients that are currently present in the health care system in the UK in the most economical way possible.