A commission looking into the way nursing is taught has been launched with a view to identifying the defining features of a nurse's education.

Lord Phil Willis has been tasked with leading an investigation into how courses can be improved through the use of classroom and workplace activities, as part of the industry's admission that some issues do currently exist.

David Brindle, public services editor The Guardian, wrote on guardian.co.uk that several reports have been published indicating there may be something of a "compassion deficit" among today's nurses, suggesting that it may be more sympathy and communication skills that need to be worked on rather than technical capabilities.

He added: "Nursing may not quite be in crisis, but it is certainly going through a rough patch. So the launch today of a commission of inquiry into nurse education and training is enormously significant both for its timing and for who is behind it."

Writing on nursingtimes.net, two healthcare experts suggested problems could be eased by giving nurses the responsibility for leading the profession towards "dignified care".

London City and London South Bank Universities consultant nurse for elderly care Vicki Leah, and chief nurse and professor of nursing leadership at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust Katherine Fenton, called on sisters to lead from the front. They also noted that values-based recruitment is becoming an increasingly crucial trend.

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