Record number of students inspired by NHS response to Covid pandemic apply for careers in nursing at Sunderland University

Inspired by the heroic efforts of NHS staff on the Covid front-line the city’s university has seen applications from young people for its nursing degree course increase by over a third.

By Neil Fatkin
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 4:55 am

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Between 2019 and the current academic year there has been a 36.4 per cent increase in the number of 18 to 21-year-olds applying for places on the University of Sunderland’s BSc degree in Adult Nursing Practice.

The demand for careers as health professionals has also risen with 1,500 students currently enrolled on courses at the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

The escalation in demand mirrors the situation nationally with figures from Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), which oversees university applications, showing a 43 per cent increase in the number of 18-year-olds in England enrolling to study nursing in 2021.

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Head of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Sunderland, Sue Brent, said: “It’s fantastic news so many young people are choosing a rewarding career in nursing.

“Over the last five years we’ve seen our own School of Nursing go from strength to strength, from a fledgling training provider with just 23 students, to a range of programmes whose reputation now attracts hundreds of students from across the globe to our Sunderland, London and overseas campuses.”

The Covid pandemic has seen a 36.4 per cent increase in the number of student nurses applying for courses at the city's university.

Sue believes a new-found public appreciation of the NHS is behind the upsurge in demand to choose nursing as a career.

She said: “We currently have more than 1,000 student nurses training at Sunderland and many of our recent cohort have indeed been inspired by the incredible work and dedication of NHS staff in their efforts over the last two years to combat the global pandemic.

Hundreds of those on the front-line tackling Covid include our own home-grown nurse graduates and we can’t overstate how proud we all are of what they’re achieving to improve the quality of health and life for others.”

Dr Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England, added: “The last couple of years, difficult as they’ve been, have shone a spotlight on the value of our nursing profession and the rewarding careers on offer in every corner of the NHS.”

The university’s nursing degree was launched in 2016 in collaboration with South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, aimed at encouraging more local recruits to enter the profession.

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