Healthcare providers have joined the University of Sunderland to launch a new school of nursing in the North East region to support trusts to fill nurse vacancies.
The school will be known as the Sunderland CARE Academy. It will be housed within the university’s Sciences Complex, though plans will see it expand into its own building in coming years.
“The launch of our school of nursing… will respond to local and national qualified staff shortages”
The school will initially offer a three-year course for undergraduates – a BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice – that will also be the first in the UK to be directly linked into a school of pharmacy.
CARE Academy partners include City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and the Patient and Carer Involvement members.
They said they had collaborated in response to the Francis report, which recommended the need for “rigorous nursing quality assurance”, citing a shortage of nurses as a key factor in poor care.
Melanie Johnson, executive director of nursing and quality at City Hospitals Sunderland, said the launch of the new school and degree course was a “very significant development for healthcare in the North East and we are delighted to be part of it”.
“We have worked closely with the university to help develop the course and students will benefit from local clinical placement opportunities in both City Hospitals Sunderland as well as South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust,” she said.
“The degree course complements the many opportunities we already provide to encourage people to make healthcare, and particularly nursing, their chosen career and I look forward to working with colleagues from the university as the school of nursing becomes established,” she added.
New school of nursing announced for North East
Professor John MacIntyre, pro vice-chancellor and dean of the faculty of applied sciences, said the school was a “major milestone”.
“Sunderland has been providing health education for decades. The launch of our school of nursing is borne out of that reputation and will respond to local and national qualified staff shortages in the health sector,” he said.
“We are incredibly proud to be working in partnership with our key healthcare providers as part of the CARE Academy,” he added.
According to the collaboration, importantly for the region, many of the newly qualified nurses will remain in the North East when they graduate.
The CARE Academy title is an acronym of the titles of the four workstreams – collaboration, achieving high quality care, research and innovation, and engagement.