Implementing the National Early Warning Score 2 into pre-registration nurse education
Evidence and practice    

Implementing the National Early Warning Score 2 into pre-registration nurse education

Zoe Abigail Butler Lecturer in Nursing and Professional Practice, Department of Nursing, Health and Professional Practice, University of Cumbria, Lancaster, Lancashire, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To refresh your knowledge of the risks of patient deterioration in clinical practice

  • To familiarise yourself with the use of early warning scores in monitoring patients’ vital signs

  • To understand the benefits and challenges for nursing students of using early warning scores

Recognising signs of deteriorating health in patients and responding to them appropriately are crucial nursing competencies. In acute care, failure to detect and act promptly on deterioration can lead to the patient’s death. To achieve clinical competence, nursing students require training in the use of techniques for monitoring physiological observations as well as protocols that enable them to respond to deterioration. The use of early warning scores has been advocated to standardise the methods and frequency of patient monitoring in acute care settings. In 2012, the Royal College of Physicians developed the National Early Warning Score (NEWS), which was updated in 2017 and known as NEWS2. This early warning score is used in acute hospitals in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This article explores the benefits and challenges of using NEWS2 as an educational tool in pre-registration nursing programmes to support nursing students in recognising and responding to deteriorating health.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11470

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Butler ZA (2020) Implementing the National Early Warning Score 2 into pre-registration nurse education. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11470

Accepted 11 November 2019

On 1 April 2016 the statutory patient safety functions previously delivered by NHS England transferred with the National Patient Safety Agency to NHS Improvement

Published online: 17 February 2020

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