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Northumbria celebrates 100th nursing degree apprenticeship graduate

11th April 2024

Over one hundred registered nurses have now been added to the region’s NHS workforce through Northumbria University’s 18-month nursing degree apprenticeship programme.

Delivered in partnership with NHS Trusts across the region including Newcastle, Northumbria, South Tyneside and Sunderland and Gateshead, as well as Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation and other primary care organisations, the programme saw its first cohort graduate in March 2020.

The current cohort, who officially join the regional workforce this week, includes the 100th registered nurse to come through the programme and also the first 18 apprentices from South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which recently partnered with Northumbria to deliver the apprenticeship scheme to its staff.

Speaking on the success of the new partnership, Debi McKeown, interim nurse workforce lead at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Northumbria University has provided a group of nurses who are prepared for the role ahead who have demonstrated great resilience throughout their training. These nurses will support us to continue to develop a sustained and effective workforce for the future “

The programme, which was the first of its kind to run in the UK, was specifically developed to open up nursing careers to more people and give individuals with previous clinical experience the opportunity to graduate as registered nurses within a compressed time frame.

Dr Julie Derbyshire, Director of Apprenticeships and Assistant Professor in Nursing at Northumbria University, said: “This is a fantastic milestone for us to hit. These types of apprenticeship routes were brought in to help us, and other higher education establishments, offer an alternative route for individuals to become registered nurses and ultimately help to tackle the huge workforce shortage faced by the NHS at the moment.

“Our programme has been incredibly successful. Over a three-year period, 91% of our apprentices have achieved a first-class degree and 100% of those who completed the course secured employment. This is not only testament to the course quality but also a clear reflection of the enthusiasm, dedication and work ethic of our students.

“To be able to say we’ve now added over 100 newly qualified nurses to the NHS is brilliant and is an incredibly strong foundation for us to build on. We’re looking forward to continuing to contribute to reducing the shortfall in nursing staff as we welcome future cohorts to Northumbria University.”

Northumbria University is dedicated to delivering high quality learning and development opportunities through experiential teaching using simulation-based education and innovative virtual reality technology to enhance practical learning, as well as providing first-class pastoral support for students.

Speaking on her time at Northumbria University, nursing degree apprentice Nicola Hill, said: “The programme itself has been amazing and I have had so much support throughout my journey from the programme leaders, personal tutors, academic coaches and lecturers. All the teaching and guidance has been impeccable.

“Each module has been very well structured with clear learning outcomes and a very good mix of learning from physical examinations, simulation sessions, written exams and assignments.

“Although the programme was tightly structured, I feel it has been very successful in helping students achieve their dreams and goals. I am so happy I chose Northumbria to help me excel in my career and I will be forever grateful.”

Rebecca Burns in the current cohort of students also recently won Apprentice of the Year at Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust ahead of graduation.

Northumbria University is one of the largest centres for healthcare professional education in the North of England, offering a range of specialist degree and CPD programmesacross many areas of nursing, midwifery, operating department practice, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The University’s Children’s Nursing programme is ranked third in the UKin the latest Guardian University Guide.

Northumbria University is dedicated to reducing health and social inequalities, contributing to the regional and national workforce and improving social, economic and health outcomes for the most marginalised in society. Through its new Centre for Health and Social Equity, known as CHASE, researchers will be delivering world-leading health and social equity research and creating innovative, evidence-based policies and data-driven solutions to bring impactful change across the region, the UK and globally.

Click here for more information on higher and degree apprenticeships at Northumbria University. 

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