Maintaining the diversity of the professional healthcare workforce through higher education qualification routes: 4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances

Liz Thomas, Vicky Duckworth

Research output: Other contribution


In England many professional healthcare qualifications, including nursing, are only achievable through higher education, for which tuition fees are payable from this year (2017-18) onwards. This paper is concerned about maintaining both the number and diversity of healthcare professionals to meet the needs of a diverse and ageing population. It reviews student views and the available statistical evidence about the impact of the introduction of tuition fees on applicants, and literature and empirical evidence about what higher education institutions are doing to recruit and retain students from different backgrounds to meet the health needs of the population. It concludes that because professions such as nursing have traditionally recruited from a diverse population minimal knowledge or practical expertise has been developed to widen participation in healthcare education in general and nurse education in particular. Moving forward, the healthcare and higher education sectors will need to work in joined up ways to develop strategies to both attract and retain a wide range of diverse students to higher education professional healthcare qualification courses – and maintain the supply of qualified healthcare professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2018


  • widening participation
  • diversity
  • healthcare
  • nurse education
  • tuition fees
  • institutional responses

Cite this