The University of Gloucestershire is working with NHS Trusts in Gloucestershire to address nursing shortages by introducing a degree programme in Nursing from 2017.
The Department for Health, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and the Royal College of Nursing are predicting a national shortage of registered nurses of almost 50,000 this year. Gloucestershire has been experiencing its own nursing shortages. It is estimated that the county needs around 450 new nurses a year and the NHS Trusts serving Gloucestershire are reporting significant challenges in attracting and retaining nurses.
A new project led by the University in partnership with Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and the NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group is looking to tackle these shortages by introducing a new BSc Honours degree programme in Nursing. This will build on the University’s existing higher education programmes in health and care.
The University of Gloucestershire already provides training for nursing, with qualifications approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in non-medical prescribing and returning to practice. It also offers a higher education apprenticeship programme in Health Care Assistant Practitioner. The new Nursing degree will expand and complement the existing nursing training offered in Gloucester by the University of the West of England.
Vice-Chancellor Stephen Marston said: “The University of Gloucestershire is committed to promoting the well-being of the county through the higher education programmes we offer.”
“We have a proud history of providing education and training opportunities that equip people for successful careers in the great public services such as teaching and social work. Over the last few years, we have expanded our range of health programmes. Given the challenges faced by our local health service in recruiting sufficient nurses to meet the needs of the county, introducing a BSc in Nursing programme is the logical next step.
“We already work closely with NHS Trusts in Gloucestershire. By working in partnership with them, we can develop a new nursing degree that will provide the county’s health service with new, much needed nurses, while also providing new opportunities for local people to train to become nurses.”
Maggie Arnold, Director of Nursing at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is an exciting and encouraging opportunity particularly for the young people of Gloucestershire who in the future could be offered the chance of studying and training locally with the prospect of full-time employment and a career in healthcare at one of our two hospitals in Gloucester and Cheltenham.
“The national shortage of key healthcare professionals has been well documented. This development has the potential to help address some of these issues. It also demonstrates our continued commitment to high quality patient care.
“However, this is in the future and there is still a way to go before this vision becomes reality. I do want to make people aware that we are recruiting right now. Every day we do extraordinary things. Why not join our team. To find out more visit www.gloshospitals.co.uk/extraordinary.”
2gether NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed the news. Marie Crofts, Director of Quality, said: “We are working with the University, alongside other providers of nurse education, to support their goal of having nurses trained and living locally within Gloucestershire. This may include a number of placement opportunities within our Trust to help sustain our nursing workforce of the future.”
Gloucester MP Richard Graham is also backing the move. He said: "This is very exciting news. It enables many more Gloucestershire residents to pursue the skills to be a registered nurse locally. We need about 450 nurses a year in our county and should be training them here, instead of importing nurses from all round the world. This is a great opportunity for our young and congratulations to the University of Gloucestershire are well deserved."