The first group of students to take part in a fast-track nursing degree course in Northumbria have graduated and begun work at a local NHS trust.
The 18-month course, set up in 2016 by Northumbria University and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, was claimed to be a “unique” partnership when it launched.
While nurse programmes usually takes a minimum of three years to complete, the Northumbria students have been able to graduate in less time because they already have experience working in healthcare.
“Having had healthcare experience already stood me in good stead”
The 10 trainees were all previously based at Northumbria Healthcare and were guaranteed employment as nurses at the organisation after they finished their studies – which were also funded by the foundation trust.
They have been trained to work in the adult field of nursing – in both hospital and community services – and were taught through a programme combining classroom-based teaching, simulated clinical skills and hands-on practical experience.
Due to the popularity of the course, a further 10 students began the shortened programme in March 2017.
Katy Crinson, from Sunderland, is one of the newly-qualified nurses who took part in the degree programme. She said: “I am absolutely delighted to have graduated from what has been a great course.
“Whilst it was quite intense, having had healthcare experience already stood me in good stead and the support I received from the university and the trust has been second to none,” said Ms Crinson, who now works as a staff nurse in the critical care unit at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, where she was originally a nursing assistant.
“The course is a real trail blazer, with other NHS trusts and higher education institutions now following”
Professor Alison Machin, acting head of the nursing, midwifery and health department at Northumbria University, said: “This programme uses a new approach of workplace-based coaching to support student nurses’ teaching and learning, keeping quality of patient care at the forefront.”
“The course with Northumbria Healthcare is a real trail blazer, with other NHS trusts and higher education institutions now following in our footsteps,” she said.
“It was specifically designed to help address their nursing requirements and enables motivated people, with healthcare experience, already working within the sector, to step up and become fully qualified nurses,” she added.
Ellie Monkhouse, executive director of nursing and quality at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Many congratulations to our nurses who have graduated from the first shortened nursing programme of its kind in the country.
“Like every NHS organisation in the country, we continue to face real recruitment pressures and must continually look at innovative ways to secure our future nursing workforce and this is just one way we are being able to do this,” she said.