UEL: Tackling the nursing staffing shortage with each new cohort

Ilford Road Baptist Church has been praying for doctors and nurses caring for Covid patients

Many of UEL's nursing graduates worked on Covid-19 frontlines - Credit: PA

Since our founding in 1898, the University of East London (UEL) has been a centre of training and education for Newham.

While the needs of the community have taken different forms over the years, one of the most pressing demands we currently face is a shortage of healthcare workers. The university is working closely with local partners to address this challenge.

Last week, we held our 2020 and 2021 graduation ceremonies. I proudly watched our first cohort of BSc nursing (adult) graduates walk across the stage near our Docklands campus.

We launched the nursing course in 2018 with 62 students, in response to the acute need for more nurses in east London. Our work has involved close collaboration with Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), the North East London Foundation Trust and Barts NHS Trust.

Professor Jane Perry

Jane Perry was proud watching the graduation of UEL's first cohort of BSc Nursing (Adult) graduates - Credit: UEL

Now our Department of Nursing includes more than 1,000 students and multiple ways to access the nursing profession, including a programme for the new role of nursing associate and a short course designed to pique interest in the field.

We are about to launch a new simulation centre that will emulate the full holistic patient journey using immersive technology.

The centre will include a new ambulance and a career zone that will allow us to work even more closely with our incredible partner trusts using innovative learning gleaned from the pandemic.

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The goal remains the same: provide first-class clinical training to help the government meet nursing and allied health targets, moving forward with new healthcare roles and working across integrated teams.

Many of our new nursing graduates undertook extended clinical placements as part of their studies, resulting in them spending much of the past 18 months on the Covid-19 frontlines.

Nearly every single one 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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