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University and trusts team up to launch Devon ‘academy of nursing’

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A new academy of nursing is to be launched in the West Country that will combine “academic rigour with NHS expertise” with the aim of raising standards of care for nurses.

The move is designed to support existing nurses to access continuing professional development while also promoting research.

“Research shows that the higher the standard of nurse education, the lower inpatient death rates”

David Richards

Those behind the initiative said it ensure nurses were in “close contact with the science of nursing and the latest approaches through seminars, mentoring systems and conferences”.

It will develop nurses so they are at the forefront of regional, national and global advances in care, said the organisations in the collaboration, which include four trusts and a university.

They are Exeter University, Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

The academy launches on 31 May and will combine research, education and development to “foster a community of constantly curious and innovative nurses in the South West”, said those behind it.

“The Royal Devon and Exeter is delighted to be a partner in its development”

Em Wilkinson-Brice

Professor David Richards, head of the new Academy of Nursing at the University of Exeter, said: “Nurses are under intense pressure. Alongside the fundamental duties of caring, they now need to take on increasingly technical and complex procedures.

“Research shows that the higher the standard of nurse education, the lower inpatient death rates,” he said. “At Exeter, we will foster nurses who will be pioneers and improve standards in the South West and worldwide.”

Paul Keedwell, director of nursing and practice at Devon Partnership, said: “Our nurses are frequently commended for their compassion and dedication but the academy will help us to ensure that we have great leaders who inspire confidence in their teams and lead by example.

“In many ways, they will be scientists as well as clinical practitioners, empowered to find, use and produce the research evidence that ensures people get the best care possible,” he said. “It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity for the development of the nursing profession.”

“The academy will help us to ensure that we have great leaders who inspire confidence in their teams and lead by example”

Paul Keedwell

Jane Viner, chief nurse at Torbay and South Devon, said: “We are committed to providing continual development opportunities for our nursing staff and the Academy of Nursing will enable our staff to be at the forefront of research, clinical practice and health policy leadership.”

Professor Em Wilkinson-Brice, deputy chief executive and chief nurse at Royal Devon and Exeter, said: “The Academy of Nursing creates a seat of learning for those new to the profession as well as those more experienced; a place where ambition, curiosity and learning will be actively encouraged and nurtured – that is exciting!

“The Royal Devon and Exeter is delighted to be a partner in its development,” she added.

Darryn Allcorn, associate professor at Exeter University and director of nursing, quality and workforce at Northern Devon Healthcare, said: “The launch of the academy is a big step forwards on a journey that will deliver even higher standards of care to patients across Devon.”

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