Welsh university sets up ‘flexible’ nursing course

A flexible adult nursing course for people with busy home lives has been set up by a Welsh university.

The four-year undergraduate course, at Swansea University, will feature a four-day study week, shorter study periods and a blend of online and on-campus learning to make balancing home commitments and the degree easier.

“This programme will allow those who can’t study full time to fulfil their dreams”

Jayne Cutter

Students on the course will also have more flexibility on their clinical placements. They will, the university said, be given more annual leave and more choice over their clinical practice hours.

It is funded by NHS Wales’ nursing bursary and, like a full-time three-year degree, will lead directly into entering the Nursing and Midwifery Council register as a registered nurse.

The course will welcome its first cohort in April and will be delivered from the university’s Singleton Park Campus.

As well as clinical placements, seminars and other in-person sessions, the blended nature of the course means some learning will take place over video calls.

Swansea University said this had been set up, alongside the shorter work week, to encourage more people to join the profession who may otherwise be too busy with family life or other home commitments to enter a full-time course.

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The university also said students on the programme would get experience in “a range of clinical and community settings”.

Professor Jayne Cutter, head of the university’s School of Health and Social Care, said: “I can’t wait to welcome our first students on this exciting new programme which will offer people who may not otherwise have the opportunity, the chance to study for a degree in nursing.”

Professor Cutter, a registered nurse herself, aired her optimism that the new course would help broaden access to registration.

“I have been a registered nurse for many years and can honestly say that it has been a privilege to be a member of this most rewarding profession,” she said.

“This programme will allow those who can’t study full time to fulfil their dreams and start working towards a career in which they will make an immense difference to those in their care and from which they will achieve huge satisfaction.”

News of this flexible course comes as nursing leaders from across the UK and Ireland met earlier this week to discuss how to address the nursing workforce shortage in Wales.

National chief nursing officers for the five nations joined with representatives from NHS Wales, Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and the Royal College of Nursing on 30 January to support the creation of a ‘strategic nursing workforce plan’ for Wales.

This plan, according to HEIW, will touch on improving the recruitment, retention and student intake for nursing.

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