Professor Jill Macleod Clark from Southampton University says that despite considerable efforts by the profession to bring about change, the basic problems identified in a 1976 paper by Eve Bendall continue to cause concern.
Dr Bendall's paper, which is reprinted in the 30th Anniversary Issue of the Journal, had warned that there was a danger of producing nurses who were "increasingly proficient on paper and decreasingly proficient in practice."
She believed that what nurses were learning in theory was becoming increasingly divorced from what they were actually doing in practice.
In an up-to-date commentary, Professor Macleod Clark, who is head of the University's School of Nursing and Midwifery, says that a total review of the nursing education system is called for and tough policy measures need to be introduced.
"We also need sufficient funding to resource and radically modernise the practice learning requirements and outcomes of nursing students in the 21st century" adds the Professor, who is also Chair of the Council of Deans and Heads of UK Faculties for Nursing and Health Professions.
Dr Bendall's paper, written when she was Registrar of the General Nursing Council for England and Wales, looked at the behaviour of 321 student and pupil nurses from 19 hospitals. 22 real-life nursing situations were selected and examined, to explore the gap between what they had been trained to do and what they did in reality.
She compared their written descriptions of what they should do in practice with what they actually did and discovered that these differed in 84 per cent of cases. Bendall concluded that, on many occasions, nurses did not follow the ideal behaviour they have been taught when t
Contact: Annette Whibley
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.