Posted Monday 18 July 2011
Degree-level nursing courses at Kingston University and St George's, University of London are among the first in the United Kingdom to have been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The Council's new education standards have been designed to ensure freshly-qualified nurses are fully prepared to deliver excellent patient care and meet the standards expected by employers. They will also give them all the skills needed to gain official registration.
The Council has approved Kingston and St George's three-year Nursing/Registered Nurse BSc (Hons) degree and their two-year postgraduate diploma in nursing, designed for students who already hold a health-related degree.
"The fact that we're among the first in the country to get the new courses approved and up and running is very positive," joint Head of the School of Nursing Dr Chris Tye said. "The move to an all-degree profession for nursing is a crucial development, bringing nurses alongside all other healthcare professionals. The nurse of the future will need to have the ability to think critically and provide care based on the best available evidence in increasingly complex situations. In addition to acquiring high levels of knowledge and technical skills, nurses will also need to provide clinical leadership, which is why degree-level preparation is so important."
The courses will boost students' skills in a wide range of areas, including giving them greater hands-on experience in the community. Patients will be at the heart of every stage of student selection, course design and teaching. "One of the key messages to emerge when we were developing the curriculum in conjunction with our NHS Trust partners was the need to involve the people who use the services throughout," Dr Tye said. "This means we can produce skilled nurses who will be able to work to the highest standards in the sector."
There will also be an inter-professional approach on the new courses, with the chance for some joint teaching and learning with medical, physiotherapy, radiography and midwifery students training at St George's, University of London, which runs the School of Nursing along with Kingston University.
"We're very proud to be one of only three London education providers to go forward with the new graduate profession standards," joint Head of the School of Nursing Dr Julia Gale said. "The programmes will ensure that students are first class and fit for future changes in the healthcare workforce. They will offer many opportunities, international experience and also the chance to undertake postgraduate studies led by our nursing professors within that framework."
Eleven other universities across the United Kingdom have so far received approval from the Nursing and Midwifery Council for their degree courses, with a further 20 expected to be accredited later this year.