New local nursing graduates providing first class care for South Tyneside and Sunderland patients

The first nursing students to complete an exciting new adult nursing course at the University of Sunderland aimed at encouraging more local recruits to enter the profession received their degrees at a special graduation ceremony.

By Ross Robertson
Wednesday, 31 July, 2019, 16:44
Nursing graduates attend the Sunderland University 2019 Summer Graduation ceremony at the Stadium of Light Picture: DAVID WOOD

The vast majority of the graduates are now providing care to patients in hospitals and in the community for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, which was instrumental in establishing the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice programme.

The University of Sunderland developed the degree course along with partners from health, social care, education and the voluntary sector, including the Trust. The initial group began the three-year programme in April 2016 and they were required to complete a total of 4,600 hours, equally split between theory and clinical practice with the Trust.

They were supported in practice on a regular basis by Clinical Link Tutors (CLTs) who were able to provide personal reassurance, as well as guidance to achieve the required clinical competencies. Alongside the CLTs, the Trust’s Practice Placement Facilitator team provided support to the students and their mentors as required, which was very positively received.

Sixteen students successfully completed the course, 80% of whom decided to stay with South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust to pursue their careers. They obtained posts at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital in Emergency Care, Orthopaedic Surgery, Medicine, Renal Medicine, the Acute Stroke Unit, and in community health services in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Melanie Johnson, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, said: “The key driver behind the development of the programme was to produce locally trained nurses equipped with the skills and knowledge to care for the local population safely and effectively. By linking in with the University of Sunderland in this way, we have been able to boost our nurse recruitment and, hopefully, the newly-registered nurses who have chosen to join us will stay with us for many years and develop their careers.

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“The standard of the nursing students on the programme was exceptionally high. Both mentors and service users remarked upon their caring and compassionate attitude and professional approach. We are fortunate that the vast majority of them chose to join our nursing teams. I’d like to congratulate each and every one of them and wish them good luck in their future career pathway.”

Since 2017, there have been two intakes each year to the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice degree course – in April and September. The Trust hopes to recruit over 100 new nurses a year through the programme.

Sue Brent, Head of the Sunderland School of Nursing, added: “We congratulate all of our nurses who graduated, we are so proud of all their hard work and effort. I’m sure they will make a huge impact in their new roles and improving the quality of health in our region.

“Thanks must also go to our positive and proactive team, who are genuinely excited and incredibly committed to the work we are doing in our School of Nursing. The team are committed to excellence and delivering highly quality, career-ready graduates with the knowledge and training to make a tangible difference to patient care. Our school is growing; we’re developing relationships with new health partnerships and continuing to invest in our faculty’s facilities and programme.”