ONCE again, in the letter from Ms Gee, we have another nostalgic view about nurse training. Whereas I sympathise with her about locality, those days have gone because nursing is now a highly technical profession which requires degree level studies.

I fail to see the purpose of a ‘foundation year’ working as an unqualified ‘pair of hands’. If that is needed I suggest a care assistant is hired. They might feel insulted to be dismissed as a pair of hands. In the modern NHS, learning on the ward is not appropriate. Care assistants do appropriate training.

I don’t disparage nurses who trained in the old way. Good, professional nursing has always been essential to patient care. Modern nursing is, however, highly demanding and requires detailed knowledge formerly left to the doctor. That is not to say that nurses are aspiring to be doctors, they are professionals in their own right, but the demands on them have changed.

As a qualified neonatal intensive-care nurse, I was concerned that the doctor was not making required changes to the ventilator maintaining the breathing of the baby I was caring for. When he took blood and and I looked at the results I was very concerned and told him so. As other results came, the doctor continued to ignore my warnings. Of course, he was not obliged to follow my advice. I was worried because he neither listened to me, nor got a more senior medical opinion. Eventually, I decided I had to do something. I contacted the consultant, simply asking him to come and see the baby. Knowing I would not have done that without good cause, he came immediately. Later he commented to the unit’s senior nurse, that if it had not been for me, that baby would have been dead by then.

I was not, of course, the only specialist nurse on that unit with sufficient knowledge and confidence to act as I did. The point is that modern nursing is demanding to a degree it never was before and nurse training has had to change accordingly.

Veronica Burton, Wilton