University’s new blended learning nursing degree opens the door to a wider workforce


As recent figures show a sharp rise in nursing applications across the country, Birmingham City University is launching a new degree aimed at widening opportunities for people entering the profession.

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Birmingham City University

The University is one of only seven institutions across the country to be offering the new blended learning nursing degree funded by Health Education England and featuring a mix of online and face-to-face teaching.

The pre-registration Master’s degree in Adult Nursing launches at the beginning of next month, just as the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) has announced that total applications for nursing courses have increased by almost a third this year (from 35,960 to 48,830).

The course is fully accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and is open to applicants who already have a relevant health, science and social science degree plus appropriate work experience in a healthcare setting.

Most of the theory is delivered online with practical skills training taking place both on campus and in hospitals and other healthcare settings. The new nursing degree can be completed in two years, and its shortened length and flexible structure is designed to appeal to those interested in studying to become a nurse but who, for reasons such as location, family, work or other commitments, cannot commit to the traditional three-year university route.      

Much of the course content is focussed on the latest developments in technologies like simulation, and augmented and virtual reality, which are becoming increasingly relevant in modern healthcare, particularly in light of the impact on face-to-face consultations and treatments caused by the coronavirus pandemic..

The new nursing degree strengthens the University’s efforts to tackle the health and social care challenges of the region by training up the next generation of professionals entering the sector.

Recruits to the new Master’s degree will be joining around 2,500 nursing students at the University, almost 500 of whom have been deployed on placement in front-line services to help in the battle against COVID since the crisis began last year.

Stephanie Paget, Course Leader of the new MSc Adult Nursing programme at Birmingham City University, said: 

It’s testament to the quality of our teaching and facilities that we are one of a select few institutions chosen by Health Education England to deliver this new nursing degree. We’re proud to be playing our part in shaping our future healthcare workforce.

The current pandemic has brought into sharp focus the vital role of our NHS but it’s also highlighted how different demographics have been affected, which in turn has  raised awareness of the divergent health outcomes many people face as a result of factors such as age, ethnicity and socio-economic status. That’s something we need to address as a nation.

Dr Navina Evans, Chief Executive, Health Education England, said:

“There is a whole cohort of people who would make excellent nurses but, for a range of reasons, cannot access the traditional nursing courses available.

“What Health Education England and the seven trailblazing universities are doing is identifying those people and giving them the opportunity to study in a more accessible way, whilst continuing to meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s standards. By doing so, we will open up the profession for more people to become great nurses of the future, whilst giving their employing trusts and the NHS a digital-ready workforce.”

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