A Sunderland nursing school is set for a £3.5million expansion after just one year to meet with the growing demand.
In a bid to remedy the workforce gap in the field of nursing, The University of Sunderland launched its nursing school in April 2016 in collaboration with Sunderland and South Tyneside Foundation Trusts.
But, after joining forces with another three organisations, it has been given the go-ahead to expand its numbers and facilities in the city and will be spending the money on refurbishing Shackleton House at City Campus to accomodate the growing school.
The move has come after the Sunderland School of Nursing received formal accreditation from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to work with three new partner health trusts.
Now, County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust, North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust and Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust are all on board and students will spend half of their time on placement in a hospital or healthcare setting with their host health trus, applying their class-based learning.
The next cohort, starting on April 24, will be based in the existing Sciences Complex, but by the autumn intake in August this year the School of Nursing will have extended.
Our ambition to improve patient care in the region is really gaining momentum nowSue Brent
Shackleton House the Sciences Complex and pioneering Living Lab complete with mock hospital ward and high-tech simulation equipment - mapping the patient journey from home to pharmacy, GP practice to hospital and back again.
Simone Bedford, Principal Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Sunderland, said: “After several meetings we were delighted when all the health trusts came on board and said ‘we really like your programme and can see the benefits of having home-grown nurses to fill the workforce gap.’”
Sue Brent, Head of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences added: “We’re really excited about this growth in our Sunderland School of Nursing. Our ambition to improve patient care in the region is really gaining momentum now, that’s our driver and we are committed to that.
“The fact that we now have five health trusts working with us reinforces that we are doing a good job and that’s why we can invest further in our staff and facilities.”
New staff are being appointed to increase the capacity in the School of Nursing’s teaching team and in the support available to students during their time spent on placement.
The redeveloped Shackleton House will include two mock wards, assessment suites, a mock patient transfer suite with an ambulance and an industry-standard isolation room.
On the second floor there will be a point of care area and a multi-functional space with dividing walls and rooms of various sizes for a variety of uses, including clinical examinations.