Professional nursing bodies have long debated how best to train our nurses so that they have the mix of skills they need to serve patients well. Jenny Clayton follows a variety of nurses in training - key issues and debate emerge.
Since 2013, everyone who wants to become a nurse in the UK must undertake a nursing degree. They spend half their time on placement working alongside trained nurses and dealing with patients, and the other half at lectures and tutorials. There are also essays to write and assignments to complete.
In this first programme, Jenny meets four students from the University of Essex and eavesdrops on their training - on the ward, at university, at home and in the community.
Charlee, who's in her second year, thinks nursing is changing: "Nurses are being given more and more responsibility, more and more is being asked of them so we have to grow with that. Personally I don't enjoy the academic side of it... but why should we just have to do the practical side?"
21-year-old Amy spends a lot of her time in the library. "As nurses, it's always important that as new literature is provided we keep up with it."
We follow Peter on a placement in the Burns Unit at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford. "I love patient contact, I love talking to people." But sometimes it's hard to be positive. "The pressures that are put onto nursing, and to doctors and the multidisciplinary team creates this funnel of negativity where mistakes can happen."
Kayleigh echoes his concerns, yet her motivation to complete her degree and become a qualified nurse is strong. "When I come on placement, it reminds me what I'm driving for... You walk away from it and you feel rewarded."
Producer: Hannah Marshall
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.