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Exclusive: Analysis reveals best and worst universities as voted for by student nurses in major survey


Universities that have scored the best and worst for overall satisfaction in a survey of student nurses have been revealed, following exclusive analysis by Nursing Times.

This year’s National Student Survey results, published earlier this month and carried out by Ipsos Mori, revealed just two UK universities saw 100% of nursing students “strongly agree” or “agree” they were satisfied with the quality of their course overall.

“We feel confident that the issues raised have either already been addressed or are in the process of being addressed”

University of Southampton spokesman

These two best scoring universities across the UK were the University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, according to the survey, published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (see table below for full results).

Meanwhile, the lowest scoring UK universities were the University of Southampton, with just 49% of undergraduate trainees saying they were satisfied with their training, the University of Abertay Dundee with 58%, the University of Suffolk scoring 59%, and Cardiff University with 65%.

In England, Leeds Beckett University was rated the best, with 98% of student in agreement that they were satisfied with their course, while in Wales the University of South Wales and Swansea University scored the highest, both with 92%.

In Northern Ireland, out of the two course providers there, the University of Ulster scored 84% and Queen’s University of Belfast saw 90% agreeing they were satisfied with their nursing course.

The average score out of the 52 universities in England taking part in the survey was 83%, while in Scotland it was 84% among 10 course providers, and in Wales it was 83% among four universities. Some were not included in the poll because too few students responded.

“We are …reviewing course delivery and providing additional resources to enhance the student experience”

 Paul Driscoll-Evans

The University of Southampton said it was “bitterly disappointed” with the survey results and that it had carried out detailed analysis of the root causes of why students were dissatisfied.

“We feel confident that the issues raised have either already been addressed or are in the process of being addressed. We will continue to engage with our staff and students to ensure that our programmes are of the highest quality,” said a spokesman for the university.

“We take the results of the NSS very seriously and are committed to delivering the excellent experience our students deserve,” he added.

A spokesman for Abertay University in Dundee said this year’s survey results for its mental health nursing programme were based on a small cohort of 11 students and did not reflect results seen in previous years.

“As a university, we continually seek to improve standards and this data will be taken into consideration as part of that process,” he said.

The University of Suffolk noted that some of its nursing courses – such as its child health nursing degree and work-based mental health nursing programme – scored 100%.

“We are developing a culture which celebrates and marks learning achievements”

Professor Brendan McCormack

However, head of department for health sciences at the university, Paul Driscoll-Evans, said the university recognised that other courses did not do as well.

“We are therefore reviewing course delivery and providing additional resources to enhance the student experience,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cardiff University described its results as “disappointing”, noting that some of its other health undergraduate programmes, such as midwifery, had been rated 96% for overall satisfaction.

A university spokeswoman said it would tackle any issues with an “urgent and thorough” response. Ongoing work to improve experiences included setting up panels to address issues early on, and increasing financial support to trainees to allow them to take part in clinical placements overseas, she said.

“We are also advertising several new appointments within the school, including a lead for student engagement and experience who will ensure an in-depth evaluation of student experience and facilitate a co-productive approach with students on quality improvement initiatives,” said the spokeswoman.

“We are committed to providing an outstanding student experience for all our students,” she added.

At the universities with the highest scores, many attributed their success to factors including providing opportunities for one-to-one support and events to mark student achievements.

“Our students value being part of a vibrant and diverse learning community which… listens to their voice and encourages their feedback”

Maggie Carson

Professor Brendan McCormack, head of the division of nursing at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted that QMU’s nursing has achieved 100% student satisfaction score in the National Student Survey.”

“The division of nursing at QMU has a departmental philosophy of person-centredness and person-centred learning, and this is firmly embedded in our nursing programmes,” he said

“In addition, we are developing a culture which celebrates and marks learning achievements,” he added referring to the introduction of an annual awards ceremony at the QMU campus for student nurses, academic staff and staff within the NHS who support trainees.

The University of Edinburgh said that having the longest-running university nursing degree programme in the UK meant it developed a programme that “provides the breadth and depth of knowledge and skills required to provide excellence in patient care”.

It highlighted that its small cohort of 40 students and provision of one-to-one support meant tutors knew each student personally and were more able to tailor their experiences.

“Our students value being part of a vibrant and diverse learning community, which provides opportunities for them to work with other students, listens to their voice and encourages their feedback,” said Maggie Carson, programme director for undergraduate nursing.

University with nursing course/sStudents who ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’they were satisfied overall with course quality
Leeds Beckett University 98%
Coventry University 94%
Manchester Metropolitan University 94%
The University of West London 93%
The University of Birmingham 92%
Edge Hill University 92%
The University of Liverpool 92%
The Open University 91%
Liverpool John Moores University 91%
The University of Essex 90%
City, University of London 90%
University of Keele 89%
Birmingham City University 88%
The University of Bradford 88%
University of Worcester 88%
The University of Huddersfield 88%
University of the West of England, Bristol 87%
University of Northumbria at Newcastle 86%
The University of Surrey 86%
University of Chester 86%
The University of East Anglia 85%
University of Hertfordshire 85%
London South Bank University 85%
The University of Northampton 85%
Teesside University 85%
The University of Bolton 85%
The University of Leeds 84%
The University of Hull 83%
Bournemouth University 83%
Canterbury Christ Church University 83%
Sheffield Hallam University 83%
The University of Salford 82%
Staffordshire University 82%
University of Derby 82%
Buckinghamshire New University 82%
University of Wolverhampton 82%
University of York 81%
Anglia Ruskin University 81%
De Montfort University 81%
University of Greenwich 81%
Oxford Brookes University 80%
Kingston University 78%
University of Central Lancashire 78%
The University of Cumbria 76%
The University of Nottingham 75%
University of Bedfordshire 75%
University of Plymouth 75%
Middlesex University 74%
University of Lincoln 72%
University of Brighton 70%
University of Suffolk 59%
University of Southampton 49%
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh 100%
University of Edinburgh 100%
University of Glasgow 97%
University of Dundee 90%
University of the West of Scotland 88%
Glasgow Caledonian University 81%
University of Stirling 80%
Edinburgh Napier University 78%
The Robert Gordon University 70%
University of Abertay Dundee 58%
University of South Wales 92%
Swansea University 92%
Bangor University 81%
Cardiff University 65%
Queen’s University of Belfast 90%
University of Ulster 84%

Readers' comments (2)

  • Anthony Johnson

    It should be noted that King's College London doesn't appear because of the successful NSS boycott organised by KCLSU - however, history suggests that it would have continued to have fared poorly

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well done to my colleagues at Essex for placing in the top 10!

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