How can accepting candidates for nursing who previously failed the DC test and then complete the NVQ level 3 in care be a lowering of standards (letters, 23 November)?

We are a group of 23 nursing auxiliaries, who began the NVQ in October 2000, who all have years of experience working in an acute hospital.

The NVQ does not show a lack of commitment. Quite the opposite. It provides us with the opportunity to review our practice and knowledge-base, assess where any gaps may be and plan, alongside our assessors, how we are going to prove we have filled these gaps. We have to prove competence, to the national standard, consistently over a period of time. This may include challenging colleagues.

How does this demonstrate a lack of commitment? The nursing strategy, Making a Difference, promotes the creation of vocational pathways in pre-registration nurse training, widening access and creating career structures for unqualified staff.

Providing these opportunities to employees who have already shown commitment both to personal development and patient care does not reduce the status of nursing.

NVQ in Care Level 3 October 2000 cohort Blackpool Victoria Hospital trust