I totally agree with Helen Fox that staff illiteracy is a threat to lives (letters, pages 22-23, 12 October).

I am appalled by the lack of professionalism in today's nursing recruitment. We were warned against the inevitable 'black hole' and the lack of nurses available for future employment.

Addressing the balance by allowing NVQ level III entry into the nursing profession will, in the long term, not solve the problem.

My experience with NVQs over the years has proved to me the lack of literacy skills, with several candidates relying on their assessor to complete their documentation.

How can we expect them to complete the ever-increasing mountain of paperwork associated with the nursing profession if they find it impossible to complete their own documentation? How can we expect them to write reports, care plans, evaluate and assess if they cannot read or write?

We live in a litigious society and this means we should be reducing risk, not adding to it. I have seen standards decline over the past two decades as nursing for many is no longer a vocation, merely 'a job' with apparent lack of commitment.

Many excellent potential nurses have been turned away in the past having not met the educational requirements. How can we accept candidates who previously failed their DC test and are then accepted having gained an NVQ? Tell me this is not a lowering of standards.

I used to be proud to call myself a nurse; my views are changing: to be associated with the profession no longer carries the status it did.

Sandra Phipps Grimsby