Home Nursing course First self-funded nursing course launched to tackle shortage in NW

First self-funded nursing course launched to tackle shortage in NW

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A North West trust has partnered with a local university to launch the first course to provide students with nursing places that are not centrally commissioned by Health Education England.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust helped design the University of Bolton’s new course to help address its nursing shortage, with all students accepted into the program being offered employment with the trust upon graduation of their diploma.

Each year, 50 places will be available for the three-year course, with students applying through UCAS and self-financing their studies through the student loan system.

“We recognized that we did not have enough trained nurses in the system and that… this is unlikely to change in the future”

Karen swindley

Karen Swindley, Director of Workforce and Education for the Trust, said Breastfeeding time sister title Health Services Journal that the program was designed to respond to workforce pressures caused by increased patient acuity, the national focus on safe staffing after the Francis exam, and a high dropout rate among nursing students in the Northwest.

“We recognized that we did not have enough trained nurses in the system and that… that is unlikely to change in the future,” she said.

This led the confidence to examine “how we might add additionality to the system” beyond those commissioned by HEE.

Although students on the course will have to pay for their studies unlike those funded by HEE, Ms Swindley was confident the demand would be high.

“What we do know is that the demand for nursing places nationwide absolutely exceeds the number of ordered places that are being provided,” she said.

A cohort of “about 20” will start the course in February, but there are already 160 applications for 25 places for a subsequent cohort in September.

Ms Swindley suggested that self-funding could result in a lower dropout rate than ordered places, and said the trust would seek to retain graduates by developing “a sense of pride and belonging” while acting as a as an investment partner.

She said the trust was able to work with the university to tailor the course, with patients helping to develop course content and screen candidates.

Although this is the first such program in the country, Ms Swindley said the idea has generated “considerable interest” from other providers.

Bolton Vice-Chancellor George Holmes said: “Our university is committed to working in partnership to develop innovative career-oriented learning programs and therefore we are very pleased to be working with such confidence before- guardian. “