The head of the Royal College of Nursing, Peter Carter, has branded the government's championing of healthcare assistants a "really stupid idea".
The government proposal is for all new nurses to work as healthcare assistants, carrying out basic tasks, before beginning their nursing training.
Mr Carter said the measure would be a waste of taxpayers' money.
"I don't believe it will happen. I believe it is a really stupid idea that will not benefit patients," he added.
The government says the RCN must work to improve standards instead of as a union for nurses after they hit out at new training plans.
As the government and nursing unions fight over how best to improve care, ITV News asked viewers to share their experiences.