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Enrolled nurse conversion: trapped into training


Dr Therese Dowswell Department of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, England.


The introduction of Project 2000 in the late 1980s aimed to replace the existing two levels of nurse training with a single level of entry. This entailed phasing out training for enrolled nurses (ENs) and ‘conversion’ courses were introduced to allow ENs to upgrade their qualification. As part of a larger study of continuing education and training in the National Health Service (NHS), a cohort of ENs taking part in an open-learning conversion course were interviewed. Sixteen nurses described their motives for undertaking the course and the impact of the course on their work and home lives. Data collected in interviews were analysed using qualitative methods and revealed that all of these nurses felt under pressure to take part in the course. Participation in the course was associated with changes in home and work life. The findings of the study have implications in terms of study leave policy.