A new collaboration between a university and NHS trusts in Oxford has been set up to improve research and learning opportunities for nurses, midwives and students, with the aim of helping to attract additional trainees and staff to the region.
The Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery, which was partially launched on Tuesday, has been established by Oxford Brookes University, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.
“We recognise there is a shortage of nurses so we want to be able to attract the best we can”
Those behind the new collaboration, which will be fully launched on 20 June, said it would ensure students were given more opportunities to witness how practice could be improved through research.
“I think a lot of students think research goes on in an ivory tower and then don’t see how it applies to patients,” said Dr Liz Westcott, department head for nursing at Oxford Brookes University.
“Whereas, if you can see nurses doing research and it improving patient outcomes it makes it far more realistic and achievable,” she told Nursing Times.
The new partnership, being co-ordinated by the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre network, will also provide a central hub for nurses and midwives to access further training and study, particularly at postgraduate and PhD level, said Dr Westcott.
It comes at the same time as Oxford Brookes University is increasing the number of places on its nursing courses next year.
“We also want our students to feel proud of the place they undertake their registration”
Its adult nursing course is expected to expand from 180 to 250 training places, while its children’s nursing course size will go from 20 to 30 spaces, and its mental health nursing will increase from 25 to 40 spaces.
The course expansion has been prompted by the removal of bursaries in England from this autumn, which means healthcare students will have to take out loans to pay for their studies and universities will no longer be restricted by government funding for training places.
It is hoped that the new partnership’s focus on research and “excellence in practice” will help to attract more students to fill the spaces, and also nurses and midwives to work in the area.
Trust and university launch research partnership to up recruits
“We recognise there is a shortage of nurses, so we want to be able to attract the best we can to come and work in Oxfordshire, and we feel that having a school that is nationally and internationally recognised will be a draw to get nurses and midwives to want to come and work here,” said Dr Westcott.
“We also want our students to feel proud of the place they undertake their registration,” she said. “We hope that will also be a driver for them coming here.
“Really, what we are all here for though is delivering excellence in patient care and good outcomes, and so this is one of the prime reasons for setting up the school,” she told Nursing Times.
Commenting on the launch of the new partnership, Oxford University Hospitals chief nurse Catherine Stoddart said: “The new school will be a real opportunity to offer nursing and midwifery training and professional development at an exceptional level in Oxford.
“It will also build an affinity to our trust and aims in the longer term to address some of the local difficulties to recruit and retain the high calibre of nursing and midwifery staff our trust employs,” she said in a statement.
Ros Alstead, director of nursing at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We are very excited about the new education, practice development and research opportunities presented by the new school, both for our nursing staff and newcomers to the profession.
“We hope to attract the best graduates to Oxford, and encourage more local people into choosing nursing as a career,” she said.
A recent survey by Nursing Times found education structures were among the factors holding back nurse involvement in vital research and innovation that could benefit patient care.