21 September 2021

After three years of study that, for many, included a frontline role battling the Covid-19 pandemic, the University of East London’s first nursing graduates accepted their degrees this week in graduation ceremonies near the Docklands Campus.  

The University launched its Department of Nursing in 2018 with 62 students enrolled on a BSc Nursing (Adult) course. The aim was to help increase the number of nurses in east London, and the University worked closely (and continues to do so) with Barts and Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trusts.

Now the Department of Nursing includes more than 1,000 students across multiple qualifications, with offerings that include a Nursing Associate programme, apprenticeships and a short course designed to pique interest in the profession. The goal remains the same: provide first-class medical training to help the government meet nursing targets.

Many of the University’s nursing students undertook extended clinical placements as part of their studies.

Professor Jane Perry, dean of health, sport and bioscience at UEL, said, “I’m very proud to see our first nursing students graduate. They are pioneers for UEL, and the future of healthcare in Newham and our surroundings communities.

“With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, working towards becoming qualified suddenly became something of a trial by fire for our students. Most of them were deployed into key frontline clinical roles, and many graduated early due to the high number of hours they worked in clinical practice.”

Professor Amanda Broderick, vice-chancellor and president, said, “This first cohort of graduating UEL nursing students represents a significant achievement for the University. I’m very proud of how much they have accomplished during this global health crisis. There is a profound need for more nurses and health professionals across the NHS, and especially in east London. As a careers-led university, we are proud to be a key institution in helping address and resolve these challenges.”

Dr Beverly Joshua, head of nursing at UEL, said, “During the pandemic, our nursing students have shown resilience, courage, and a deep determination to study while working. I’m very proud of how far our first graduating nurses have come.”

Nursing graduate Donnette Murphy, who was selected to give a short speech at the graduation ceremony, said, “The pandemic has not been easy for any of us. But we’re here today and I’m proud of us for that. We met the demands of our studies and personal circumstances in unprecedented times and soldiered through to a successful finish on an unforgettable journey.”

Nearly every single nursing student at the University of East London has strong ties to east London, whether they have come from local NHS Trusts, spent their placements in local hospitals, or plan to eventually work within east London communities.

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