A Sunderland woman is among the first people to graduate with flying colours on a new full-time work-based nursing degree at a North East university.
Traditionally a three-year qualification, the 18-month nursing course at Northumbria University is aimed at people with a healthcare background.
The first of its kind in the UK, the programme leads to a BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies/Registered Nurse (Adult) degree and is a partnership between Northumbria University, Newcastle, and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
The course involves a mix of classroom-based teaching, simulated clinical skills and hands-on practical experience in hospitals and the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside and, on completion, the students were guaranteed employment at Northumbria Healthcare.
The first ten recruits – made up of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust staff – began the programme in March 2016.
The opportunity, funded by the trust, was so popular that it received almost six times the number of applications than there were places for, and a second course, with a further 10 recruits began in March 2017.
Katy Crinson, from Sunderland, is one of the newly-qualified nurses who took part in the new degree programme.
She is now a staff nurse in the critical care unit at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, in North Tyneside, where she was originally a nursing assistant.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted to have graduated from what has been a great course.
“Whilst it was quite intense, having had healthcare experience already stood me in good stead and the support I received from the university and the trust has been second to none.
“I am absolutely delighted to have fulfilled my ambition and to start my nursing career.
“It has been such an honour to have been part of an innovative approach to nurse education and it’s great to see that the North East are leading the way.”
Following the success of the 18-month degree programme, the course is now being replicated in other areas of the country.
Professor Alison Machin, acting head of the nursing, midwifery and health department within Northumbria University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: “I would like to congratulate all the student nurses on their graduation and to wish them an exciting and rewarding career in nursing.
“Northumbria has a long-standing excellent reputation for delivering high quality innovative nurse education and training.
“This programme uses a new approach of workplace-based coaching to support student nurses’ teaching and learning, keeping quality of patient care at the forefront.”