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Open University in Wales appointed to train new student nurses

06 Jul 2024 2 minute read
NHS nurses at work. Picture by Victoria Jones / PA Wire.

The Open University (OU) in Wales has been appointed by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) to train new student nurses.

The OU’s nursing degree scheme allows healthcare assistants to study flexibly for a nursing degree while continuing to work in their local hospital or care home.

The new  course covers all four fields of nursing: adult; mental health; learning disability; and child and young person.

From October 2024, HEIW will fund a maximum of 130 nursing places a year. The initial contract period is for one year, with an option of extending to a further two.

The OU in Wales nursing programme was first established in 2018.

Through the university’s distance learning platform, students are able to learn flexibly alongside their job, combining theory and practice.

Bilingual resources

The programme offers students bilingual resources and Welsh-language and English-language learning groups and will support underrepresented groups to apply, or to achieve the necessary entry qualifications via a partnership with Cardiff and Vale college.

Dr Linda Walker, Nation Manager for Wales at the OU’s Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies said: “This new agreement with HEIW is a significant milestone for nursing at The Open University Wales. One of the things that makes us stand out as a provider is that we train nurses for the whole of Wales.

“Students study from home and gain practical nursing experience by working in appropriate local healthcare settings. This means that they don’t have to relocate to study and can continue to serve their local community.

“We have a great relationship with Wales’ health boards, trusts and local healthcare providers. We’ve developed an innovative approach to distance learning, and we put the student at the centre of our teaching – something which brings out the best in them and helps them reach their potential.”

A spokesperson from HEIW said: “We are delighted to work with the Open University to support in maximising opportunities for employed support workers to train to be registered nurses.

Widening access to healthcare professional education is important to HEIW in our mission to meet the workforce requirements of health and social care in Wales.”


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Beau Brummie
Beau Brummie
15 days ago

This is a bit of a two-edged sword.

Wales has a population of 3.1 million, and has seven physical universities, with the OU making eight. That seems a lot, with critically low student numbers, and hence, finances, now causing risks to survival for some of these institutions.

Here’s hoping that HEIW will be seeing these healthcare training places as additional to other providers, rather than as replacing numbers in Bangor, Wrexham, ac ati.

OTOH, for so many mature students, flexible and remote training is the only reality.

Tough choices ahead!!

hdavies15
hdavies15
15 days ago

Part of a solution is better than no solution. Wider access to an apprenticeship based approach enables students to earn as they learn rather than carry the burden of loans. This could get extended to doctors in training as their training programme contains extended periods of workplace exposure.

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