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28 April 2015, 05:00
Staff shortages mean some nurses missed mandatory training last year or had to use their annual leave in order to complete it, according to a new survey.
It found 9.4% of Scotland's nurses completed mandatory and statutory training in their holiday time, while 27.5% did not receive all of the training they should have last year.
Of those nurses who undertook mandatory or statutory training, or continuous professional development (CPD), over half (54.7%) said no cover was provided while they were absent from duties.
The survey of 1,346 nurses in Scotland was carried out as part of a UK-wide survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) between March 11-29.
RCN Scotland has called for dedicated time to be set aside for nursing staff to complete training and CPD.
Associate director Ellen Hudson said: "We all know how overstretched the NHS in Scotland has become, and this survey only goes to highlight just how much pressure it is under.
"When nurses are put in the position that they either do not undertake mandatory training in areas such as infection control, or they use their annual leave to do so, it's obvious things are tough.''
She added: "If Scotland is to provide the high quality and safe health services we all want and deserve, health boards need to ensure that nursing staff are not only up-to-date with mandatory and statutory training, they are also supported to continue to develop their skills and expertise through CPD.
"It is imperative that our nursing teams keep up-to-date with advances in healthcare.''