Birmingham City University has been named as one of seven institutions, which will be offering new flexible online nursing courses from next year.
Health Education England has announced the new courses, which will support the NHS Long Term Plan to bolster the nursing workforce, by allowing students to learn flexibly and balance their studies with other working or family commitments.
The blended learning nursing courses will see most theory taught online, allowing more students to access the courses by removing barriers, which prevent some people from joining.
It is hoped the courses will also equip students with the digital knowledge and expertise to maximise the benefits of new technologies and innovations in healthcare, which could reshape how nursing is delivered.
From March 2021 Birmingham City University will be offering a pre-registration Master’s degree in Adult, Child, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health Nursing with applications set to open later this year.
The course will be open for applicants with an undergraduate degree currently working in a healthcare setting. Students will study an accelerated two-year course, in line with the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s standards of an equal split between theory and practice.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Today’s expansion of nurse training is hugely welcome and will help us deliver on our commitment for 50,000 more nurses, as well as offering innovative and accessible new ways to train. This world-leading new blended degree will equip the next generation of nurses with that expertise from the get go.
“It will also open doors by providing more flexible learning options to attract a more diverse range of applicants.”
Professor Carol Doyle, Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery at Birmingham City University, said: “The NHS has already made a commitment to bolstering its nursing workforce and this announcement is a major step forward for widening the access for many people who may have thought about nursing but couldn’t balance university studies with other commitments.
“By providing this blended learning course, we will not only be able to allow students to learn flexibly but will also equip them with the digital skills to meet the demands of a changing society and provide new forms of care to the communities they serve.
“We are proud to be one of the delivery partners for this new innovative way of studying and believe it can make a real impact for both students and patients in the future.”
Patrick Mitchell, Director of Innovation and Transformation for Health Education England, said: “This is a critical and ambitious programme of work, to support the introduction of blended learning degrees in healthcare. It shows the way to the future of educating and training our workforce, with the use of existing and emerging learning technologies.
“It signifies how HEE is working in partnership with HEIs, to establish a radical shift in nurse education in England. We were impressed by the innovation that our chosen universities had put into their plans, especially around looking for new student markets, embracing the widening participation agenda and their use of innovative technologies. This approach has been accelerated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will really help to enable wider access to nursing degrees for people who may previously have had barriers to a nursing career.”
To find out more visit: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/blended-learning.