Reports suggest that the nursing shortage is the worst it’s been since records began, figures from NHS Improvement highlight that the NHS in England is short of 100,000 staff one in 11 of the entire workforce enter the Be Brilliant initiative.
The nursing shortage, combined with fears that nursing is an increasingly stressful and undervalued job can put people off becoming nurses; however, the University of Northampton is trying to change that.
One of the ways they are doing this is by providing a highly supportive training environment for their students on its adult nursing course that fully prepares them for the role.
Cindy O’Dell, the Adult Nursing lead at Northampton University says that students at Northampton receive tremendous support during their three years from a personal tutor, as well as academic and clinical colleagues.
“Nursing is such a unique career where people get the opportunity to have a real physical, emotional and spiritual connection with people. No day is the same and there are broad career opportunities available in Northamptonshire and nursing in general.”
The University offers a highly rated, three year undergraduate adult nursing course, which leads students to a BSc Adult Nursing (Hons) and registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
A big draw for students this year is a new £330m campus, which opens in September, across the road from Northampton General Hospital and close to Northampton’s theatre, bars, restaurants and shops.
Students also receive a skills bag to use in the new skills suite. This includes a pocket mask, stethoscope, pedometer, pen torch, alcohol gel and scissors. Its purpose is for nurses to start to take ownership of their learning and appear professional from day one.
Central to the programme of support is the University’s Be Brilliant initiative.
Be Brilliant encourages lecturers and students to aspire to always provide the best care for patients with compassion, courage and commitment and to celebrate nurses and their achievements.
As part of this, workshops during the students’ induction are offered on resilience and how to bounce back, how to be compassionate, as well as how to cope with the demands of a nursing degree and maintain good wellbeing.
One student benefiting from this supportive approach is Gail Purves, who worked as a dental nurse for eleven years before enrolling on the adult nursing course. She says the course provides an ideal mix of in-depth academic learning and interesting ward placements.
“The support network here is incredible and Be Brilliant is really important as it encourages us all to go the extra mile for patients, for colleagues and ourselves.”
Another student, Jessica Jennings-Bland, who has just completed the adult nursing course says it is ‘the best career decision’ she has ever made.
Jessica has taken on a fulltime role at Northampton General in the vascular department.
“Nursing is my vocation and I love it. There is a great team environment at Northampton General Hospital which has really helped me. Even when we are really busy, we work so well as a team, I feel confident we can do a great job for patients and, there is also usually a ward sister nearby if we need support.”
Students studying in Northampton University are offered a two-week European exchange option, plus they can work toward a ‘Changemaker’ certificate. The Changemaker initiative encourages staff and students to find solutions to environmental or social problems to improve people’s lives, either at home or abroad.
The University is a part of the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ recruitment campaign and is partnering with Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital, Kettering General Hospital and St Andrew’s Healthcare, to recruit more nurses and doctors and encourage them to relocate to Northamptonshire. Encouraging student nurses to train and remain in Northamptonshire is a key campaign goal.