New blended learning nursing degree to focus on community, primary and social care skills

NHS England has launched a new blended learning degree that will offer undergraduate nursing students the chance to specialise in community, primary and social care nursing.

The new ‘first destination’ blending learning nursing degree has been created across three Higher Education Institutions, which includes Anglia Ruskin University, the University of Chichester and the University of West London.

The degree has been developed off the back of the commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan to improve community services which will allow patients to receive care closer to home.

This has meant that there is a need for nursing degrees that place less emphasis on acute hospital training and allow for better experience working in community, primary and social care settings.

The course will prepare students with the right skillset to move into jobs in community, primary and social care straight after graduation.

Blended learning degrees offer students more flexibility over how they study and a greater choice of where they take up their practical placements and are aimed at being accessible for a wider cohort of people.

The programme will be a blend of in-person, online and digital learning to develop theoretical and practical knowledge and skills.

Henrietta Bankas, Head of Blended Learning, Digital Learning and Development in the NHS England Workforce, Training and Education Directorate, said: “This new blended learning degree will ensure that we continue to invest in the skills that are needed across all sectors and settings in the NHS and social care.

“It is recognised that the skills required for nursing in community, primary and social care are different to those for nursing in secondary care and by giving them these particular skills we can grow the primary care and community workforce to meet the targets laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan.”

Patrick Mitchell, Director of Innovation, Digital and Transformation in the NHS England Workforce, Training and Education Directorate, said: “I am really thrilled with the three universities who have successfully been awarded contracts to deliver this innovative programme. It is testament to what can be achieved through collaboration and openness to explore alternative workforce solutions with adaptation for local and national context.”

Professor Nigel Harrison, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University, said: “The new pre-registration nursing degree programme will build on the existing blended learning and community nursing degree programmes we currently offer.

“We are committed to work in collaboration with our partner provider organisations to develop the future community, primary care and social care workforce.”

Dr Charmagne Barnes, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the University of West London’s College of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare, said: “We’re delighted to offer the pre-registration nursing course blended route at Masters level.

“This two-year, flexible blend of in-person, online and digital learning uses contemporary, creative and engaging learning and teaching strategies and technologies. It makes training accessible to potential students who previously faced barriers to a nursing career.

“Our learning and teaching pedagogic model UWL Flex and state-of-the-art simulation centres, take advantage of the latest technology with innovative practices to help students develop effective knowledge and skills in an off-campus environment and ensures optimal use of their time when on campus and in practice learning.”

Dr Nita Muir, Head of School of Nursing and Allied Health at the University of Chichester, said: “The University of Chichester is delighted to be a pioneer for this initiative course and we are collaborating with Sussex Health and Care based organisations in developing two new blended learning courses within Sussex, where there is an urgent need to grow the nursing workforce.

“We are offering the blended learning route via an innovative post-graduate courses as an accelerated pathway for graduates – this is the first type of course to be offered in the Sussex region and offers an alternative access to becoming a Registered Nurse.”

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