The University of East London has marked the official launch of its new adult nursing degree by unveiling a new state-of-the-art clinical simulation centre.
The £250,000 simulation centre is located on its Stratford campus and features tools like “Stan”, a high-tech patient simulator mannequin.
“It is vital that we have more higher education institutions offering nursing degrees”
The university said it hoped the new nursing course would help address the acute shortage of nurses in East London, the aim being to “train local people for local jobs”.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council approved the new degree course earlier this year, making the university the only approved institution for nursing based in East London.
It will run the course in partnership with the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust and the North East London NHS Foundation Trust.
The course will be 50% theory and 50% learning in the clinical environment, with students working alongside qualified nurses and other healthcare practitioners.
Demand for the course has already been high, said the university, with 600 applications for the 60 places available in the first cohort starting in January. A second cohort of 60 will start next September.
“Overall, the students are from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds”
Professor Nora Ann Colton, East London’s acting vice-chancellor, said: “The launch of our new adult nursing programme and high-tech simulation centre underlines our commitment to the local health economy.
“This new programme will address the skill shortages in East London by producing highly trained graduate nurses to work within the local NHS, while giving local people a pathway to a challenging but highly rewarding career,” she said.
Nigel Davies, head of pre-registration nursing at the university, highlighted that the degree programme featured a number of innovations to meet the demands of the local area.
University celebrates official launch of new adult nursing degree
He said: “We have a focus on integrated care so we are ensuring that, of the 50% of the teaching that takes place in placements, half will be in community settings and half will be in hospitals.
“There is also a strong mental health thread running through the programme and a dedicated mental health placement in year two,” said Mr Davies.
He added that the “enthusiasm and commitment” to nursing in East London that the university’s panels had seen when interviewing candidates had been “amazing”.
He noted that 60% of applicants were over 30 years old, with a “wealth of life experiences”, and also came from “diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds”, just like their future patients.
The launch of the new course comes as some universities around the country have begun to cut their nursing course sizes and applications are down by 23%, in the wake of the scrapping of the bursary in England.
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Among the guests at the launch reception on 29 November was Sir Keith Pearson, chair of the national workforce planning body Health Education England.
Sir Keith said: “It is vital that we have more higher education institutions offering nursing degrees, so it is wonderful to welcome UEL to our nurse training family.
“I would like to congratulate the university on the launch of this course and we look forward to continuing to work with the university in the future,” he added.