By Lee Pinkerton
The NHS may be facing a nursing recruitment crisis nationally but the University of East London (UEL) has had no problems attracting students to its new nursing degree.
On the contrary, the University has been overwhelmed by the number of would-be nurses among the east London community, with 600 applications for the 60 available places on its inaugural course, which started this week.
A further 60 places are available for UEL’s next nursing course starting in September, and the number of applications has already reached 773.
UEL's Head of Pre-registration Nursing, Nigel Davies, said, "The enthusiasm and commitment to nursing in east London that we’ve seen when we interviewed the new students has been amazing.
“We have 60 per cent who are over 30 years old, and they bring a wealth of life experience with them. Overall, the students are from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, just like the patients they will be caring for."
UEL is running the degree course in partnership with the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals and North East London Foundation NHS Trusts. It is hoped that it will address the acute shortage of nurses in east London by training local people for local jobs.
University officials are currently exploring ways to meet the huge demand for nursing studies in east London.
Mr Davies said UEL students would enjoy a course that contains elements that are new and innovative.
He said, “We have a focus on integrated care, so we are ensuring that of the 50 per cent of the teaching that takes place in placements, half will be in community settings and half will be in hospitals. There is also a strong mental health thread running through the programme and a dedicated mental health placement in year two.”
While on campus, some of the students' learning will take place in a £250,000 simulation centre located on UEL’s Stratford campus. Its cutting-edge tools include ’Stan’ - a high-tech patient simulator mannequin.