Phil, I'm sorry but I do not consider it 'unjustified and needless to academicise British nursing'.Do you really think that nursing is just mopping fevered brows and giving out bedpans? Surely it is better that nurses know why they are doing what they do, have in-depth knowledge of pharmacology/anatomy/physiology etc. Would you want other staff, eg. physio's, paramedics, doctors, etc to have some sort of low level apprenticeship type training - I think not. Nursing has changed a lot since I started training in 1971 and it has changed for the better.
If nursing wants to be recognised as a profession in its own right then the training must be degree level and higher.