Nurses will have to spend time working as healthcare assistants before getting NHS funding for their degree.
The proposals by ministers come as part of an overhaul of the NHS in response to the Stafford Hospital scandal.
The pilot scheme will see nurses providing basic care, undertaking tasks such as washing and dressing patients.
BBC News website readers having been sharing their views on the planned changes.
Nicola Clarke, Nottingham
As a student nurse, I am furious. We are constantly being judged as the “too posh to wash” generation of nurses and it is absolute rubbish.
It is compassion and care that draws the majority of us to the job in the first place.
We spend 50% of our course actually working on wards, in the community etc. From day one of our training we are taught the value of basic care.
It is not us or our training that is the problem – the problem is much higher up. We are supposed to be supernumerary, yet often there are not enough staff even if we are counted.
Being a nurse is not just a job, it is a privilege.
It’s not an easy or cushy job. It is hard work and often it is heart-breaking, but knowing you’ve helped someone, even if it is just helping them feel clean, is so rewarding.
Peter Lawley, Telford
I’m a retired clergyman who has worked as a hospital chaplain.
I welcome these changes, especially the “hands-on” ward experience.
The Project 2000 nurse-degree initiative has been as disaster, taking the eye away from vocation and introducing qualifications way beyond those required for good, compassionate nursing care.
You do not need a degree in order to care and you do not need to be a technician to be a nurse.
Those who trained 30 years ago were trained for a vocational profession, not as qualification seekers.
I’m training to work in children’s nursing and don’t believe that these changes will prove to be positive. If anything, I believe they will dissuade people from wanting to become nurses because of the extra training.
People coming into nursing straight from college would not graduate at the same time as their friends because they would still need the grades to get onto a degree course.
I believe that the application process for nursing should be overhauled, rather than the training itself.
It should also include an extended interview process, where the character, compassion et cetera of potential students can be scrutinised further.
We need a reform, not in the training itself, but in the “filter system” that chooses who will be nursing our nation’s most vulnerable.
Jacqueline Grove, London
As a nurse of 30 years, a tutor and now a manager, I feel that what is needed is a decent training programme.
Nurse training has been eroded and is so far removed from what is happening clinically both in theory and practice it has destroyed the profession.
Nurses are working under enormous stress. They are creaking under the strain of the workload, the increase in patient throughput and all the ridiculous targets and paper work that are utterly a waste of time and effort.
Having mentorship training is great, but working staff do not have the time or energy to teach students.
Common sense is out of the window and it is such a crying shame
Grace Bull, Bournemouth
I am currently in my first year of an adult nursing course and quite frankly I am tired of hearing so much about the lack of compassionate care nurses provide.
It is frustrating that so many people seem to think that nurses are failing in being compassionate because they are “too posh to wash”.
The overwhelming majority of nurses go in to this career because of their wish to make a difference and to care for those who are vulnerable.
I don’t believe these measures will work. It will make the government look good for a while as they are seen to be taking action, but I don’t think it will provide the results they are hoping for in the long run.
Compassion is simply in the nature of some people, and not in others.
It’s no wonder there is low morale in the NHS at the moment”
I am in my final year of nurse training and can honestly say that the majority of my time spent on practice placement has been spent taking on the role of a healthcare assistant.
Wards are very short of nursing staff and as student nurses are working on wards for free, we are taken advantage of and given roles that we are not there to fulfil.
The first year of nurse training is to learn basic care by spending time working alongside healthcare assistants, but the majority of students like myself have worked in healthcare previous to nurse training.
It’s no wonder there is low morale in the NHS at the moment. I for one will not be working for the NHS when I qualify and will be taking my skills and experience into the private sector where nurses are valued and respected for their profession.