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Gloucestershire uni gets green light for new nursing degree course

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The University of Gloucestershire plans to offer a new nursing degree from September 2017 after the course was approved, subject to conditions, by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

As reported by Nursing Times earlier this year, the new course aims to tackle local nursing shortages by offering a three-year undergraduate degree with hands-on experience at every stage.

The initiative is being led by the university in partnership with a range of local health service providers and commissioners.

These include Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Teaching for the course is planned to primarily take place at the university’s Oxstalls campus in Gloucester.

However, students will also gain “first-hand experience” at acute and mental health facilities via the partnership with trusts across the county.

Dr Joy Darch, academic subject lead for nursing at the university, said: “Our programme will empower graduate nurses of the future to lead a culture of care that puts patients at the heart of everything they do.

“We have had a fabulous opportunity in Gloucestershire to create the curriculum in partnership with patients and providers to prepare nurses with the skills and knowledge needed for a modern day health and care service in a wide range of settings,” she said.

“Our programme will empower graduate nurses of the future”

Joy Darch

Meanwhile, workforce planning body Health Education England announced last month that the university had been approved as a test site for the controversial new nursing associate role, which is intended to form a “bridge” between healthcare assistants and registered nurses.

Marion Andrews-Evans, executive nurse at Gloucestershire CCG, said: “It’s vital for the county’s future that together we develop a sustainable nursing workforce.

“There is a real sense that community partners are all pulling together in the same direction to ensure that Gloucestershire develops its reputation as a centre of excellence for nursing,” she said. “We would like to congratulate the university for helping to make this a reality.”

The project has the support of Richard Graham, Conservative MP for Gloucester.

He said: “Health is the biggest employer in Gloucestershire, so the increasing focus by our university on providing the skills for my constituents and others in the county to have lifetime careers in health is absolutely right.

“I hope both parents and students will see the huge practical advantage of being able to study for nursing degrees and higher apprenticeships so close to home, and without any limits on numbers now,” he added.

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